September 10, 2014
FASHION FORWARD: “Fashion Week is a big designer event in New York City from September 11 to the 17th. We were asked to do the hair for more than 20 models taking part in the event.” Amy Kaczowski (right) and Heather Rizzo are co-owners of Salon Pure at Palmer Square.

FASHION FORWARD: “Fashion Week is a big designer event in New York City from September 11 to the 17th. We were asked to do the hair for more than 20 models taking part in the event.” Amy Kaczowski (right) and Heather Rizzo are co-owners of Salon Pure at Palmer Square.

The mission of the stylists at Salon Pure is to help clients look and feel their best. A new haircut and well-defined highlights can do wonders for a new look, as the fall season gets underway.

“We make people happy here. If they look nice, they feel better and have more confidence and self-esteem,” says Heather Rizzo, co-owner with Amy Kaczowski, of the very popular salon.

Opened in 2007, the salon was originally located on State Road, before moving to 31-A Hulfish Street (on the second floor, just above Mediterra Restaurant). Both Heather and Amy are experienced stylists, having worked for several years in the hair industry before opening Salon Pure.

“We wanted to open our own salon because we had another vision,” explains Amy. “We wanted to offer a special atmosphere and the best hair service. We are set apart by the environment we create. Our clients say they feel as if they are on vacation when they come here.”

Salon Pure is a full-service salon, offering haircuts and color, extensions, and treatments, as well as manicures, pedicures, waxing, and make-up applications.

“We have a wide range of experienced stylists and experts in their field who can accommodate different price ranges,” point out the owners. “Our staff is really superior, and we have a lot of continuing education. We train all our assistants for two years in addition to their previous cosmetology education. Everyone goes to New York City once a month for haircutting and color demonstrations, and we also have on-line training.”

The demonstrations are at the Nick Arrojo studio, and this famous hair stylist and TV personality has become an important asset for the salon. “We can create what is really in style because of our association with Nick Arrojo,” says Heather. “Knowing Nick, we are on top of everything that’s new.”

“I had seen Nick Arrojo at hair shows, and I liked his cutting approach,” adds Amy. “It was close to Vidal Sassoon, but edgier. Nick invited us to come to one of his cutting demonstrations, and we have been associated with him for a few years.”

Certainly, access to the very latest styles and trends and the professional expertise of the staff is a real plus for their clients. It has also been noticed by the media. For the third year in a row, Salon Pure has been voted “Best Salon in New Jersey” in New Jersey Monthly magazine.

Long hair, short, curly, straight — all are popular today, although there is a trend back to short, reports Amy. “Short hair is really in right now. You see lots of pixie cuts and also bobs.”

For teenage girls, however, tossing those long locks is still irresistible, and long styles are still popular for their versatility.

“One of the newest looks today is the American Wave,” continues Amy. “This is a ‘New Age’ perm, and it’s great for both long and short hair. This is very new. It doesn’t need styling or blow drying. It can just air dry, or if you want a little different look, it can be blown dry briefly.”

For those in a hurry, who want to “wash and go”, this is a terrific time-saver.

In fact, easy maintenance is a requirement for many Salon Pure clients. “Life-style is a very important factor in deciding on a hair style,” points out Heather. “We have a very in-depth conversation before we start, so we can create the ultimate hair style for the client. Something that is very individual, and is the best choice for that person. We always take facial structure, age, and life-style into consideration. Our clients are all ages, from kids to grandparents. Women, men, and children. We are very family-friendly.”

“There are many ways and techniques of cutting hair,” she adds. “For example, a razor cut gives more texture. The right cutting technique can make the difference between a good hair cut and an outstanding haircut.

“Some people will come in every week just for a blow-dry. Because of a great dry shampoo, they don’t have to wash their hair in between visits. The Nick Arrojo dry shampoo is the best. It takes out the oil, adds body and texture, and men love the fragrance! It’s just a great product, and extremely popular.”

Color, of course, continues to be the big news on the hair scene scenario. For many people, it is a fashion statement today, changing with the seasons. Highlights, lowlights, multi-dimensional color, ombre, balayge, hair painting are all popular techniques, and many clients are not afraid to experiment. Brunettes become blondes, blondes become redheads, and vice versa. Color creates interest and often can contribute to a more youthful look for the client.

And, whether customers want an unaffected, natural shade and style (most do) or a highly dramatic coiffure, they can be accommodated at Salon Pure, where the color experts are prepared to help clients perfect their “look”.

“Color is huge, and it’s fashion today; it’s not just to cover gray any more,” points out Heather. “Coloring products are safer than ever. It’s very safe, and it’s all about the application and the skill of the professional. It is also very individualized, but as people get older, the trend is to go a little lighter with color. The skin tone changes over time.”

Also, she adds, many factors can affect the color result. “Medication is a big factor in color. It really can affect the outcome. Pregnancy can also make a difference, due to hormonal changes.”

In addition, for those who have had a bad “do it yourself” coloring experience, corrective color is available. The Salon Pure color experts have specific products and the skill that can repair the damage.

Hair design and styling for special events are also a major part of the business, as are bridal packages — for the bride and the wedding party. Make-up is another area of expertise, and make-up applications are offered for special occasions and for bridal parties, both on the day of the wedding and for “trial runs” a few months before the big day.

Manicures, pedicures, and waxing are also available, and Heather and Amy emphasize that all the implements used in these services undergo thorough sterilization.

“Shellac is very popular today,” says Heather. “It’s a type of gel, and lasts longer than regular polish. Also, it is very ‘in’ to have the nail art on the ring finger to be different than the other nails. The nail art is really incredible today. As for color, we have everything, but ‘Sugar Daddy’ is a big favorite now. It’s a light pastel color.”

Heather and Amy are delighted with the direction their business has taken. Many of their clients have become friends, and word-of-mouth has been excellent.

“This is a very creative business in all ways,” they note. “It’s very important to keep on top of everything so it all runs smoothly, which also is reflected in a happy staff and happy clients. In keeping with our welcoming atmosphere, we offer coffee, tea, cookies, and other refreshments, and we encourage walk-in customers. We also continue to welcome new staff. We want everyone to get to know us. We want to be really well-known in the community and be a part of it.”

They have indeed worked very hard to become a part of the community, and are pleased to support many organizations and charities in the area and beyond. Some of these include Locks for Love, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and SAVE.

“We will also be part of Wellness Day,’ to be held October 12 on the Green,” says Heather. “There will be a different mix of businesses and organizations taking part, as well as trainers, yoga, and other activities.”

Salon Pure is open seven days: Monday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 9:30 to 8, Friday 9:30 to 7, Saturday 8:30 to 5, Sunday 10 to 4. (609) 683-8384. Website: www.salonpureprinceton.com.

 

August 6, 2014
SIMPLE WONDERS: “I wanted a unique toy shop that represented my view of play as well as reflecting the community. The mission of sticks and stones is to provide children of all ages the tools to creatively explore their world and to embrace the simple wonders of unstructured play.” Jennifer Ghannam, owner of sticks and stones in Hopewell, is shown with a butterfly net over her shoulder and a “Nature House” for “collecting insect specimens, which you capture, observe, and then let go.”

SIMPLE WONDERS: “I wanted a unique toy shop that represented my view of play as well as reflecting the community. The mission of sticks and stones is to provide children of all ages the tools to creatively explore their world and to embrace the simple wonders of unstructured play.” Jennifer Ghannam, owner of sticks and stones in Hopewell, is shown with a butterfly net over her shoulder and a “Nature House” for “collecting insect specimens, which you capture, observe, and then let go.”

The “young at heart” of all ages will not want to leave sticks and stones! This charming toy shop, located at 16 Seminary Avenue (just off Broad Street) in Hopewell, is filled with a variety of intriguing items guaranteed to pique the curiosity and imagination of all who enter. “Nature-inspired Toys and Playful things” is sticks and stones’ motto, and it reflects owner Jennifer Ghannam’s concept of what children’s play should encompass. “We are unique in what we offer,” she explains. “It’s things that I have very carefully and thoughtfully chosen. And it provides kids with the tools to discover the world around them.” A mother of twins and a former teacher of elementary and middle school students, Ms. Ghannam initially had an on-line toy business, started in 2012, but she had always hoped to open a shop in Hopewell. “There were no other toy stores here, and there is so much value in face-to-face dialogue with the customers. I enjoy meeting everyone, and we have all ages coming in.” Newborns and Up Customers will find items for newborns on up, with a focus on products made of recycled materials, including wood and fabric. “Also, I try not to put firm ages on everything,” she points out. “Because everyone is different in what they like, and it doesn’t depend on age.” Indeed, there is a plethora of items for young explorers, artists, gardeners, inventors, builders, actors, and naturalists of every age! Items, which cover a price range of $5 to $160, with everything in between, also cover a wide spectrum, from bird and bat houses to model-making kits to assorted arts and crafts to books, blocks, and board games. The variety appeals to customers of all interests, and all the categories are popular, reports Ms. Ghannam. “I seek out things that are unusual, and people have really responded. There seems to be something for everyone.” Fun is a key word, and it underlies much of the inventory. It helps combine learning and education with a real sense of play. When the kids come in, they are very much engaged — as are their parents. Insects and Airplanes Two very popular items are the Needle Felting Kit and the Fairy-Making Kit. With the former, explains Ms. Ghannam, “You shape the felting fabric with the needle. It is a lot of fun, especially for ages 10 and up. They can make all kinds of little animals, and even adults enjoy it. “The Fairy-Making Kit includes wood, felt, and pipe cleaners to make the fairies. This is a favorite for kids from five and up. There are also recycled cardboard kits to make trees, animals, insects, and airplanes. A Pirate Map-Making kit is another favorite, as are the Lille Huset recycled cardboard houses from Grow Studio in Chicago.” Also available are “Edible Chemistry kits”, which kids can use to concoct root beer and bubble gum. “Glux Glow” (Glow-in-the-dark Putty) and Gels and Slime Kits are other favorites and are very popular birthday gifts at $15. In addition, the Yellow Owl Workshop from San Fransisco offers stamp and ink pads, stamp carving kits, jewelry, note pads, etc. Blocks and marbles stand the test of time, and the block sets include themes with insects, nursery rhymes, and the classic alphabet. “We also have a block and marble building kit, with which the kids can create towers and buildings,” she adds. “It’s from the Amish, and is really beautifully made.” Among the many irresistible items on display are “Chalk Rocks” created by Ms. Ghannam, who made them out of sidewalk chalk. The rocks are in all colors and are fun to look at, and then can be used as sidewalk chalk for hopscotch and other games, she explains. Giant Bubbles OGAS sailboats, handmade in Germany, do indeed float; special kaleidoscopes that can be taken apart and then put together for different images; magnifying glasses, telescopes, and “Optic Wonder,” which combines binocular, monocular, signal mirror, compass, and magnifier; and “Bubbles” which creates giant bubbles are all appealing to many ages. The “artists” among the customers still opt for old favorites, such as colored pencils, oil pastels, sketch pads, and modeling beeswax. And 32 Ways to Dress A Cat (or Bunny, etc.) features partly drawn pictures, which the kids can complete. Books, often focused on nature, are available on the second floor of the shop, and appeal to a variety of ages. A Strange Place To Live (Where Animals Live) by Marilyn Singer and On a Beam of Light, A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Byrne are two favorites. Wooden puzzles and board games are also available. “We have cooperative games, ‘Play Together, Not Against Each Other’, where the kids play as a team to reach a common goal,” says Ms. Ghannam. “And we have competitive games as well.” Finger and hand puppets are very popular, she adds, and charming little stuffed animals from Moulin Roty in France are irresistible. Larger items include a Balance Bike, and Ms. Ghannam points out that electronics are not a focus at sticks and stones. “There is one battery-operated toy here. We are kind of ‘unplugged’ in the store.” “Make and Take” arts and crafts workshops are held at the shop the second Saturday of every month, she adds. “The kids come in and participate in a specific project that has already been planned out. For example, they can make little bird houses out of toilet paper rolls and little birds out of paper, etc. I put out the materials, and am here to help with instruction. “I also plan to have birthday parties here. The crafts idea is very popular. Kids really like to make things. I enjoy it when they come in, and have such fun looking at everything and get excited.” In addition, Ms. Ghannam has a display of “Happy Faces”, photos of many of the children who enjoy coming to her shop. “I love it when people send over photos of the kids, and when they have made something from the store. We have lots of pictures, including one of a boy who got a pond kit, then went to the pond in the park, caught a fish, and came back to show me. It just made my day! “I look forward to the shop, not as just a toy store, but evolving into a destination for people to do creative things, such as workshops, parties, puppet shows, etc. As sticks and stones evolves, it is my goal to provide, as much as possible, products that are friendly to the environment. You will find more and more products created by hand, made of recycled materials, and made right here in the U.S.A. “I also want to be community-based. I want the shop to become part of the fabric of the Hopewell community.” Sticks and stones offers on-going sales, gift bags for all purchases, and can be easily identified by the decorative colored yarn adorning the nearby trees outside the shop. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday noon to 5 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. to 5, Friday and Saturday 1 to 6. Sunday hours will soon be established. (609) 466-6536. Website: www.sticksandstonesshop.com.

July 30, 2014
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: “When you start a new school, it’s a new adventure. It’s exciting, and it’s on-going. We are still sorting out ways of doing things.” Lesley Skousen, PhD, history teacher at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, is shown on the attractive grounds of the new school.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: “When you start a new school, it’s a new adventure. It’s exciting, and it’s on-going. We are still sorting out ways of doing things.” Lesley Skousen, PhD, history teacher at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, is shown on the attractive grounds of the new school.

The love of learning is celebrated at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS). Located at 19 Lambert Drive, former site of the American Boychoir, the school recently completed its first year of operation.

Thirty-three enthusiastic, intellectually curious, and committed day and boarding students from the U.S. and China in 9th and 10th grades were challenged and stimulated by PRISMS’s unique learning experience.

“The mission of the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science — a visionary, intercultural research community educating and inspiring high school students through rigorous scholarship and personal responsibility — is to ignite a passion for inquiry, innovation, and investigation that will instill a compassionate commitment to enrich the quality of life in school, community, and country, and make an enduring difference in our world,” says Head of School Glenn McGee, PhD.

“We believe that our model of inquiry-driven education can be an exemplar for both independent and public schools worldwide. Data from parent and student surveys show that this first year we succeeded in our goal to ‘illuminate powerful ideas, nurture a compassionate community, and inspire profound inquiry.’”

Learning Experience

Dr. McGee, formerly president of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), is a veteran educator. During his 40 years as an educator, he has served in many spheres, from teacher to school superintendent of education for the state of Illinois. IMSA is known as “the world’s leading teaching and learning laboratory for imagination and inquiry, for its innovative inquiry-based curriculum and student research program.”

Supported by the Bairong Education Foundation, which purchased the campus, PRISMS is associated with a “sister” school in Beijing, a high school affiliated with Renmin University (RDFZ). Dr. McGee is enthusiastic about the chance to offer such an outstanding learning experience in Princeton, which offers its unique location and variety of opportunities.

“Princeton University, the greater Princeton community, and New York City all offer countless resources and opportunities for our students. They have talked with artists in Manhattan studios, been mentored by professors at Princeton and professionals at Ernst and Young, engaged with exceptional innovators, and been able to attend numerous cultural events that were not available in their home communities. Very few places in America, let alone the world, can provide students with these experiences. This region has enabled students to learn so much outside the school day and beyond the campus boundaries.

“Our goal was to combine the best of the Chinese educational system, specifically the academic rigor and work ethic, and the best of the American educational system, its innovative practices and inquiry-driven teaching and learning,” continues Dr. McGee. “We managed to do it and do it well this first year. I especially enjoy seeing students from different cultures working together on projects as well as enjoying free time together. These students have learned so much about global collaboration that I have no doubt they will be leaders in their fields — and in fields that don’t even exist yet — because they have a deep conceptual understanding of the subject matter and the ability to work as true partners with students from around the globe.

“Solving our current and future global problems will require global collaboration, and the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science is where students will first experience the opportunities, challenges, and successes of working with talented peers from around the world both on campus and through interactive research with students and scientists thousands of miles from our home. Our young scholars will develop the habits of mind to excel in future demanding educational endeavors, to become ethical, responsible leaders; and to succeed in their pursuit of chosen careers.”

“There has been so much enthusiasm among the students to get to know each other,” adds PRISMS history teacher Lesley Skousen, PhD, formerly of IMSA. “ A real sense of international enthusiasm has developed. At first, the Chinese kids and the American kids tended to stay among themselves. Then, we had a big Halloween party, and they started getting together. We also had a camping trip in the appalachians as a combination field trip for the Wild PRISMS survivalist club and the astronomy club. We visited an observatory sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomy Society, and our students were allowed to use a solar telescope for observing solar flares. They really enjoyed themselves.”

Rigorous Curriculum

“Another thing that is so special about PRISMS is the emphasis on inquiry-based learning,” continues Dr. Skousen. “Instead of lectures, we ask questions. For example, I’ll say ‘What were the causes of the American Revolution?’ I also have students write essay questions. To write a question, they must have knowledge about the subject. We have lots of class participation, which stimulates discussion. We have very active learners, and it’s personalized learning. Our classes are small, with 10 to 12 students. There is no place to hide!”

These high-achieving students pursue a rigorous curriculum. A full range of disciplines, including math, physics, science, history, English, several languages, and art, is offered. Another very important aspect of the educational opportunities at PRISMS is the focus on independent year-long research projects.

“The students meet one day a week for dedicated research,” explains Dr. Skousen. “There are no classes that day. The research program is essentially graduate research in such fields as chemistry, political science, astronomy, and economics. Our students can participate with older established scholars at other institutions, and I also hope to see publication of their work and their participation in conferences. I am confident about their ability to do this.”

Dr. McGee agrees, and points out that “This program is an important way in which PRISMS is set apart from other schools. Every student is required to complete a formal research project that will culminate in a published paper or formal presentation at a major conference by the time they graduate. Our faculty mentors help students identify projects that interest them, and then we try to pair them with researchers and practitioners in the field who help them develop their proposals, conduct their research, and prepare formal posters, papers, and presentations.

“Also, every Wednesday, we invite a professional to conduct a seminar for our students or hold our in-house Global Studies Seminars. The quality of the students’ projects is impressive. In addition, we are able to personalize learning to assure that every student has opportunities to accelerate in areas in which he or she has special talents and receive additional support in areas in which he or she struggles.”

Life on the PRISMS campus, in addition to the academic focus, offers a broad learning experience. The nearly 18-acre campus was designed by world-famous landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead (designer of New York’s Central Park), and currently includes four buildings. Expansion will feature a state-of-the-art laboratory, fitness center, and a new dormitory.

Life Skills

“With students’ rigorous academic schedules, it is important to keep other aspects of life in perspective, especially in these habit-forming years,” points out Dr. McGee. “We want all of the students to be able to work together, to have fun, and to learn to respect each other. Community life is not just about behavior in the dorms, where students live together; it includes the way we act in the classroom, in the dining hall, and in common spaces in general. The life skills learned through the boarding experience here are just as important as the academic experience.

“We expect students to be respectful of other students, of faculty and staff members, and of the campus. We expect that students learn to collaborate with others, and to be interested in finding the best way, not just in having their own way. We expect them to learn that, to be heard, they must listen. We hope that students will graduate with a much more mature understanding of balance between mind, body, and spirit, to be further cultivated throughout their lives.”

After having launched PRISMS and achieved its first year of success, Dr. McGee will leave to embark on yet another new learning adventure. In the fall, he will become superintendent of the Palo Alto Unified School District.

“With its 17 schools and 13,000 students, it provides an opportunity to make an enduring difference on a very large scale,” explains Dr. McGee. “I will still be working at PRISMS as a consultant and even mentoring a research student. It is my fervent hope that I can connect students in Palo Alto with our students here in Princeton on some significant research projects that ideally will engage mentors from two of the top universities in the world, Princeton and Stanford.”

He adds that Matthew Pearce, formerly of the Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology, will assume the position of PRISMS’s executive principal in July.

PRISMS is currently accepting 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students for the fall term. (609) 454-5580. Applications are available on-line at www.prismsus.org.

 

Durable Driveways: “Customers can rely on us to do the job right the first time. We are reliable, experienced, thorough, and affordable.” Glenn Layendecker, owner of Budget Paving in Lawrenceville, is shown with the fleet of his paving vehicles, which must be continuously maintained to provide the best service.

Durable Driveways: “Customers can rely on us to do the job right the first time. We are reliable, experienced, thorough, and affordable.” Glenn Layendecker, owner of Budget Paving in Lawrenceville, is shown with the fleet of his paving vehicles, which must be continuously maintained to provide the best service.

If your driveway is beginning to take on a grayish tinge, and telltale cracks and weeds are visible, it’s probably time to consider a re-do!

Glenn Layendecker, owner of Budget Paving, located at 34 A Black Lane in Lawrenceville, is ready to put in a new driveway, add a seal coating finish, or do needed repair work.

Driveways are a specialty, but his company also provides services for parking lots, as well as patio hardscapes and walkways, power washing, etc.

“We offer professional asphalt maintenance at affordable prices,” says Mr. Layendecker. “And we pride ourselves on prompt, reliable service. We’re a fully-insured company, and we perform our services on residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial properties. Our services include seal coating, paving, patio work, crack repairs, and line striping of driveways and parking lots.”

In business since 1999, Mr. Layendecker began with a focus on seal coating (a topping to protect against water seepage, cracks, and winter damage), then added paving as a major service in 2007.

“The life span of an asphalt driveway is 10 to 15 years,” he explains. “Seal coating once a year or every two years, depending on the condition, will help keep it from cracking and also give it a nice look.”

The majority of his driveway work is with asphalt, but he also uses concrete, pavers, and Belgian blocks on some jobs. He works on every size and shape driveway, including flat, inclines, curves, straight, double drives, and circular.

“The busiest time for paving is spring into summer,” he reports, “and this takes a lot of careful scheduling. That can be a challenge because of weather conditions. If there is a lot of rain, things can get backed up.”

The busiest time for seal coating is the end of fall, he adds, because people want to protect their driveway from the possible ravages of winter weather, including from snow plows, etc.

When customers inquire about paving their driveway, Mr. Layendecker visits the property, and provides an estimate. Once the job is underway, he is on site regularly.

“Most paving jobs take one or two days,” he explains. “I enjoy the interaction with the customers, and every job is different. I am proud of my excellent staff. Everyone who works for me is good-hearted and cares about the job. There is a skill to putting the paving down correctly. There are many components to be considered, including making sure there is proper drainage. This can be a problem. You want the run-off water to go toward the street, not toward the house.

“Our company stands out because we are straight-shooters. We do the job the right way; we are very thorough, and we don’t cut corners. We offer a one-year warranty on paving jobs. The challenge is to compete with people who ‘low-ball’ prices, and who then don’t do good work.”

Paving jobs typically start at $1500 for new asphalt, and seal coating is $100 to $275, depending on the size of the driveway.

“I’d say we’re in the middle price range,” points out Mr. Layendecker. “We give you the most value for the money. Size is an important factor in establishing the price, and, of course, the materials. Concrete, Belgian block, and pavers are more expensive.

“One point I’d make to customers is that when choosing a company to take care of their asphalt, be sure to ask questions and feel comfortable with the people. It’s not always about the lowest price. And, also, it’s good to invest in a local contractor. If they are local, their reputation depends on doing a good job.”

In addition to paving and seal coating, Mr. Layendecker works on hardscapes for patios and walkways, power washes houses, surface cleans store fronts (that is, power washing sidewalks). And in the winter, when paving jobs are not normally on the agenda, he often keeps busy with snow plowing projects.

Customers are in Princeton and the surrounding area, and excellent word of mouth continues to expand the customer base. As Mr.Layendecker says, “People know they can count on us.”

Budget Paving hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for appointments. (609) 586-5600. Website: www.paveNsave.com.

 

July 23, 2014
COMFORTABLE ELEGANCE: “We specialize in custom design, and we call it comfortable elegance. This is reflected in the ambiance of the shop. There is a certain image geared to people who want to look nice.” Nick and Jennifer Hilton, owners of Nick Hilton Princeton, offer the finest apparel for men and women.

COMFORTABLE ELEGANCE: “We specialize in custom design, and we call it comfortable elegance. This is reflected in the ambiance of the shop. There is a certain image geared to people who want to look nice.” Nick and Jennifer Hilton, owners of Nick Hilton Princeton, offer the finest apparel for men and women.

Sophisticated, elegant, and tailored clothing for men and women is the specialty at Nick Hilton Princeton. This unique studio/store at 221 Witherspoon Street, opened in 2001, and has become an important resource for Princeton clients looking for fine quality styling.

Long known for its outstanding menswear, the store added women’s clothing in 2006. It became such a success that the studio/store expanded its space in 2013 to accommodate additional items for women, as well as more room for men’s made-to-order, custom clothing.

“The biggest change is the size of the women’s section,” notes Mr. Hilton. “The expansion actually gave women their own store. There are really now two separate stores under the same roof: men’s and women’s. The women’s section is no longer just a corner in the men’s store.”

Of course, gentlemen continue to count on finding the highest quality apparel as well as helpful, knowledgeable service. Mr. Hilton is an expert in all areas of menswear, including customized design, featuring comfortable elegance.

Award-Winning

The award-winning stylist represents the fourth generation of his family to dress American men. The client list includes U.S. presidents, statesmen, captains of industry, entertainers and sports figures. Mr. Hilton’s classic yet individual designs have been featured in GQ Magazine, among others.

“My great-grandfather Joseph Hilton and his brothers came from Russia in the 1880s, and started a custom-tailoring shop,” recalls Mr. Hilton. “They opened a series of shops called Joseph Hilton & Sons, and eventually, there were 10 stores in New York and New Jersey. The name was later changed to Browning King & Co.

“My grandfather Alex Hilton and my father Norman Hilton continued in the business. After graduating from Princeton and serving in the Navy in World War II, my father later created the Norman Hilton Country Line. He established a wholesale business that we never had before.”

Nick Hilton wasn’t quite sure whether to follow in the fashion footsteps of his forebears, but in fact, the interest was there, and he started out in Italy, working for a trouser manufacturer. When he returned to the U.S., he became a salesman for the family business, and found that he was to wear many hats.

“By 1975, I was head stylist, buyer, and salesman, and in 1980, I became president of the company.”

His real interest was in design, however, with a focus on softer tailoring and subtle patterns. His designs emphasized an international updated traditional style. “It’s not fashion in the sense of anything trendy or a novelty,” he notes. “We reinvent and update tradition.”

Formal Wear

When he opened his own studio, sports coats, trousers, shirts, and ties were available all with the Nick Hilton label. Eventually, Hickey Freemen suits, sports coats, sweaters, and jeans were added, as well as pajamas and robes.

The holidays — as well as weddings and other special events — are a popular time for formal wear, even in an increasingly informal society. Tuxedos and accessories are available, as well as a handsome black velvet jacket, suitable for a tux or even as a smoking jacket.

“We also have private label dress shirts from New England, and our shearling coats with cashmere outers are very popular for the winter. They can be sporty or dressy, and some of the coats are waterproof. In addition, we have high-quality Canali suits and sports coats from Italy. This is a very fine Italian line. The quality and styling of Italian tailoring is outstanding, and it creates an appreciation for high quality among customers.”

The store also offers a selection of Santoni shoes from Italy, adds Mr. Hilton. “These are light-weight, and often have rubber soles. They are stylish and very comfortable.”

In addition, new this year are “Heal Goods” socks for men designed by Princeton resident Grant Ward. “He decided to go into the hosiery business,” explains Mr. Hilton. “The socks have been very popular, and offer great designs in cashmere, wool, and blends.”

The variety of scarves, including cashmere, leather gloves, and belts, offers many sought-after accessory possibilities.

Total Look

Mr. Hilton enjoys helping his customers achieve a total look. “Men don’t always like to shop or change their style. I enjoy exposing them to something new and educating them. We help them with the total outfit. They typically buy three or four items rather than one. We can put it together for them.”

Indeed, the shop includes a number of displays featuring ensembles which Mr. Hilton has coordinated to show how different colors, textures, and patterns can work together.

And the displays for women are just as appealing. Sophisticated, elegant, tailored clothing that their customers enjoy wearing are the focus of the women’s department, notes co-owner and women’s buyer Jennifer Hilton. “We have a lot of new lines, including Dara Lamb, which we will offer in the spring, as well as a Max Mara boutique. Max Mara has been very popular for us, and we currently carry two of their lines — Weekend and Studio.”

She points out a lovely Max Mara double-faced fabric jacket and a charming lightweight leather jacket, also a Max Mara design.

Cambio jeans continue as customer favorites, she adds, “And we have had fabulous novelty printed designs on the jeans, tone-on-tone and printed on velvet. We’ll be getting more of them for spring. Prints generally are very big now, including in printed dresses. Cropped pants from Italy are also big sellers.”

Another popular seller is a soft, lightweight goatskin jacket featuring a stretch side panel for fit from Gimo’s of Italy. A selection of lovely cashmere sweaters in a palate of pastels is available for winter or spring.

Life and Color

“Scarves add life and color to any outfit,” points out Ms. Hilton, and the store offers a wide assortment. A beautifully soft and filmy lightweight wool is in an “Ombre” design with a “lobster” red and “chalk” blend of colors.

A gorgeous line of extra large silk scarves features dramatic designs and stunning colors, with nature motif, including birds and flowers. “They are 42 inches square, and I wanted them to be large enough so they don’t slide off the shoulder,” notes Ms. Hilton. “Made in North Carolina, they are in crepe de chine, and are extremely dramatic with extraordinary clarity of color”

Quality is the key to Nick Hilton Princeton, and both Mr. and Ms. Hilton are proud of what they have offered their scores of customers of all ages over the past 12 and a half years. “We offer fit and style that is appropriate to all ages,” notes Mr. Hilton. “We don’t have the most expensive items, but we do have the best quality. Quality is not just about durability and how it feels. It has to do with beauty and an aesthetic. And we think in terms of style, not fashion. Style remains; fashion comes and goes.

“I’m enjoying myself thoroughly,” he adds. “What I do as a retailer is my real passion. It is most enjoyable interacting with customers all day. What is most satisfying is helping people with their lives. Helping to give them enjoyment, confidence, and satisfaction. Clothing is evidence of one’s personality. And it is nice to help someone select an outfit they can enjoy.”

Mr. Hilton also looks forward to focusing more on design in the year ahead. “We are planning to work with a tailor shop, which will make clothing only for us. It will basically be our design. In addition, I will be designing men’s sport coats and trousers. Custom work has always been our hallmark, and we will focus on this.”

Customers who visit Nick Hilton Princeton will find a store filled with beautiful clothing for men and women in an atmosphere of friendly, knowledgeable service.

Hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 to 5. 609-921-8160. Website: www.nickhilton.com.

GREAT TASTES: “We are set apart by the quality of our ingredients. We use all organic vegetables and chicken, and we have special recipes. We also offer customers a beautiful artistic setting.” Lisa Shao, owner of the Peony Pavilion, looks forward to introducing more diners to her Asian fusion restaurant.

GREAT TASTES: “We are set apart by the quality of our ingredients. We use all organic vegetables and chicken, and we have special recipes. We also offer customers a beautiful artistic setting.” Lisa Shao, owner of the Peony Pavilion, looks forward to introducing more diners to her Asian fusion restaurant.

“We offer our customers a special experience: delicious Asian fusion cuisine in a wonderful, beautiful setting. This is a special place.”

Lisa Shao is owner of the Peony Pavilion, the new Asian fusion restaurant at 20 Farber Road, near the MarketFair Mall. She is proud of the restaurant’s reputation for high quality cuisine and also, its exotic, dramatic interior design.

Named for a famous 16th century Chinese opera, the restaurant focuses on the peony — a Chinese symbol of peace, nobility, and prosperity. Replicas of the flower are prominent throughout the spacious restaurant, which can seat 200. Suspended jewel-like red pendant peony motif etched glass chandeliers and elegant red lacquer wood peonies are displayed throughout the lavish setting.

A panel of copper peonies creates the backdrop for the framed kimonos and 200 photos and images relating to the opera that are exhibited in many areas. Gorgeous red and black hanging lanterns enhance the Peony Pavilion’s exotic Asian ambiance. Customers can enjoy dining in booths or at tables in several settings.

Leisurely Dining

Ms. Shao’s artistic interest and background played an important role in creating this intriguing interior design. “I wanted the entire atmosphere to be very artistic,” she explains. “It reflects the cultural aspect of the opera, and combines that with Asian fusion food, and it is complemented by soft western jazz, adding a relaxing touch. Especially, we want people to be relaxed and enjoy leisurely dining here.”

Ms. Shao, originally from China, also owns Szechuan House in Hamilton. Interested in opening another restaurant in a new location, she decided to focus on sushi as well as blended Asian fusion cuisine.

“Our unique menu takes its cue from time-honored Asian cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Korean flavors, with contemporary approaches, using the freshest, finest ingredients we can find. The Peony Pavilion provides the opportunity to experience food with a rich history.

“Our presentation of the food is also very important,” continues Ms. Shao. “Our chefs showcase the dishes in very special ways. Even our plates are different for different dishes — round, square, and oval.”

“Absolutely the best sushi around!” reported a customer, just leaving the handsome 10-seat sushi bar. Indeed, reports Ms. Shao, “Sushi is a big favorite for us. Yoshi, our master sushi chef from New York, creates wonderful choices, which can also be customized. We have the freshest fish available, and the sushi is always extremely popular.”

“Yoshi” sushi, named for the sushi chef, is always in demand, she adds. It features crunchy, spicy tuna, avocado, and asparagus, wrapped with soy seaweed, topped with salmon, tuna, yellow tail, and Wasabi soy sauce. Unlike most sushi, it does not contain rice.

Many Variations

“Peony Sushi” includes toro salmon (the fatty cut of the fish) and yellow tail, asparagus, and red peppers, wrapped with soy seaweed, and jalapeno spicy yuzu sauce. The “Angry Dragon” features shrimp tempura and avocado, topped with spicy King Crab orange, edamame, and eel sauce.

Many variations and combinations are available, including sushi and sashimi, sushi and assorted rolls (California, tuna, spicy salmon, peanut avocado, to mention just a few).

Rice and noodle choices, Pad Thai (hot rice noodles, with choice of beef, vegetables or seafood), and Peony fried rice with chicken, beef, shrimp, or vegetables are also very popular. Ms. Shao notes that homemade Wasabi crackers are served with spicy tuna and caviar.

In addition, appetizers offer many choices, such as soup (creamy butternut squash is a big hit) and salads (seaweed to crispy calamari) and special hot appetizers, such as eggplant tofu (sauteed Japanese eggplant with basil crispy tofu).

Hot entrees range from organic grilled chicken to Chilean sea bass to Szechuan rack of lamb to Peking duck and Thai bacon filet mignon, among many other choices.

Also available are special lunch boxes, served with soup and salad and appetizers, incuding chicken or salmon teryaki, tempura shrimp and vegetables, and ribeye steak teriyaki, as well as a variety of sushi favorites.

Daily Specials

Daily specials are offered, and on weekends, the popular Chinese Dim Sum is served from noon to 3 p.m.

The Peony Pavilion offers catering, and a party room for special events. Prices cover a wide range, with lunch specials (including any two rolls for $10 and three for $13); lunch boxes are $12 and $13, appetizers from $5, a la carte sushi from $3, and entrees from $20.

The Peony Pavilion also features a special Chinese Tea Ceremony, featuring appetizers, traditional Chinese music, and of course, tea.

“We offer high quality English tea from Harney & Sons,” notes Ms. Shao. Other beverages include coffee, soft drinks, and juices. Desserts, such as molten lava cake (served warm with vanilla ice cream), tempura ice cream, creme brulee in three different flavors, and cheese cake lollipop tree, are popular with many diners.

The Peony Pavilion is BYO, but it also offers the purchase of wine by the bottle through an association with the Alba Vineyard.

“I am so encouraged by the response to our restaurant,” says Ms. Shao. “We already have many regular customers. I enjoy it so much when people come in and say how much they appreciated dining here, and I look forward to even more people enjoying our unique dining experience. We also support local Princeton and area events. We believe giving back to the community is important.”

The restaurant offers lunch, dinner, and take-out, and delivers to local businesses in the area. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Saturday 11:30 to 10:30, Sunday 11 to 10. (609) 580-1850. Website: www.peonypavilionprinceton.com.

 

July 16, 2014
RICH TRADITION: “You can feel the richness of the tradition of our club in our warm, friendly atmosphere. It is inviting and welcoming. At the same time, we are very fresh and contemporary with our membership. We are current with the times.” Leslie Conover, membership and marketing director of the Trenton Country Club, is shown at the clubhouse entrance.

RICH TRADITION: “You can feel the richness of the tradition of our club in our warm, friendly atmosphere. It is inviting and welcoming. At the same time, we are very fresh and contemporary with our membership. We are current with the times.” Leslie Conover, membership and marketing director of the Trenton Country Club, is shown at the clubhouse entrance.

History is alive and well at the Trenton Country Club. At the same time, the club is current, contemporary, and up-to-date.

Established in 1897, it is located at 201 Sullivan Way in West Trenton, not far from the Mercer County Airport. Set on 110 acres, the clubhouse was once the private home of the Woodruff family, prominent both in New Jersey and in association with the then new federal government. Today, it offers an exceptionally handsome colonial-style clubhouse, surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds, including two small bridges overlooking a pond and fountain.

Originally known as “Oaklands”, a portion of the current clubhouse was built as a private home in 1808. An early owner, George Whitefield Woodruff of Trenton, established it as his summer home, after he had relocated to Georgia at the request of President John Adams to serve as U.S. District Attorney for the state of Georgia.

Eventually, after the last Woodruff descendent died, the house was rented (later purchased) by a group of area businessmen, who envisioned a country club and nine-hole golf course.

“One of the Finest”

Golf continues to be a major focus of the club today. Current members proudly note that in 1914, when additional land was acquired, James “Jimmie” Norton, a well-known golf pro and course architect, designed the 18-hole course. Mr. Norton was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, home to British Open courses, Royal Troon and Prestwick.

According to Club historian John Burne, “Trenton Country Club’s new course was touted in the local paper as ‘one of the finest in the East,’ and was played by many noteworthy golfers.’ Two-time U.S. Open champion John McDermot played here immediately after becoming the first American to win the championship with Norton. President Woodrow Wilson was a member here, and helped usher the game’s popularity into the American consciousness.”

In addition, an interesting cross-section of famous visitors, including John Jacob Astor (1901), Theodore Roosevelt (1901), John D. Rockefeller (1911), and Charlie Chaplin (1919), signed the Trenton Country Club’s leather-bound registry, either to enjoy a round of golf or to dine with colleagues in one of the club’s fine restaurants.

In the early days, the club offered golf, skeet shooting, and polo, notes general manager John Case, who has been with the club for 25 years.

“Today, in addition to golf, we have three swimming pools, five clay tennis courts, paddle tennis in winter, and a fitness center. There are golf and tennis pro shops, and we have two restaurants and a poolside snack bar.”

The club currently has a membership of 600, he adds. “Forty have been members for more than 45 years. We also have 550 kids here, who are children of members. We are very family-oriented, and we have many activities for kids.”

“Princess and Pirate”

Among these are tennis and golf camps with private, semi-private lessons, and clinics; summer camp including golf, tennis, swimming lessons, cooking, arts and crafts, group exercises, meals, and snacks. The club is part of the Princeton Area Swim & Dive Association (PASDA), and the team usually competes in six meets.

In addition, the Trenton Country Club offers baby sitting for 3-year-olds and up every Friday all year, and Tuesday through Friday during the season. Also, the annual “Princess and Pirate” party is a favorite of the younger club members.

Golf is the focus for many members, and the layout is a classic parkland course designed to use every club in the bag, challenging golfers of all levels of ability. A driving range, putting green, and separate short game area are all available. Some people like the challenge of the entire course, others enjoy the front nine, or just a few rounds, or they can come to practice, notes Mr. Case. He adds that three holes are currently undergoing renovation.

The club hosts the Capital Cup, one of the area’s premier invitational events. “This is a special qualifying event for top-notch players,” points out Leslie Conover, membership and marketing director.

Tennis players love the HAR-TRU (clay) courts — so much easier on the knees — at the club. The courts are carefully maintained daily, says Mr. Case. “We sponsor a lot of events here in connection with the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL), which was founded by Arthur Ashe to encourage and give opportunities to inner city kids to play tennis.”

In addition, in August, club members will have a chance to play with former Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, who will hold a clinic.

Heated 6-Lane Pool

The tennis and golf pros are always on hand to help members with the finer points of their respective games, and — especially — to enjoy themselves, adds Ms. Conover.

The three-pool facility offers something for everyone: a heated six-lane pool with diving board; a 3-foot by five foot leisure pool; and a zero depth-entry baby pool, as well as playground, volley ball court, and poolside snack bar. Swimming lessons are available for all ages, and four lifeguards are always on duty.

The club’s fitness center features a variety of cardio machines, plus all the equipment needed for strength and resistance training. Personal trainers are available, and certified instructors lead group exercise classes, such as Pilates, yoga, Zumba, and more. A massage room is also nearby.

An abundance of social activities is also offered to members. Events range from elegant wine dinners to family-friendly occasions. Two restaurants offer quality cuisine. The Stockton Room features a panoramic overview of the golf course, with outside dining also available on the terrace. The low key Tavern affords members a relaxed, comfortable dining experience.

Every major holiday, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Passover, and Mother’s Day, etc. is celebrated, notes Ms. Conover. A highlight in December is the Holiday Ball, with three bands in each of the dining rooms. Another favorite evening is “Passport Night”, including a “trip around the world” with exceptional food, spirits, and themed music from 12 countries.

“We host many functions for members and non-members alike, adds Mr. Case. “Weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, business lunches, charity events, fund-raisers, showers, brunches, etc. Our ballroom holds 400.”

In addition, the club offers a book club, bridge, and wi-fi, among other amenities.

Most Opportunities

Members, who are all ages, come from Princeton and the area, as well as Pennsylvania, he notes. “We get new members all the time, and we offer three different memberships. (1) Golf, which also includes all the other sports and social activities; (2) sports: swimming, tennis, fitness center, and very limited golf; and (3) social activities only. The golf membership is the most popular, since it offers the most opportunities.

“Memberships include family, couples, and singles, and there is an application process to join. We always look forward to welcoming new members. We are the oldest continually-operated country club in the area and beyond. The quality of our food and services is outstanding, and we have exceptional loyalty from our staff members. Many have been with us for more than 25 years.

“I have to make sure that it is a wonderful day every day for the members, and to make sure they enjoy themselves,” continues Mr. Case. “I enjoy making everything work smoothly, and also meeting all the people — both staff and members. We look forward to being here for all of the members, including the next generation.”

“It’s wonderful when people come back and thank us and say how much they appreciate being here,” adds Ms. Conover. “We are presenting great opportunities for our members, and we want to continue the longevity of this historic club.”

The clubhouse is open Tuesday through Sunday. The pool is open every day during the season from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; tennis courts 6 a.m. to 11 pm., and golf from 7 a.m. until dark. (609) 883-3800 Ext.104. Website: www.trentoncc.com.

 

June 25, 2014
NTU Pr soccer exp 6-25-14

SOCCER FEVER: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Mr. Teleky (far right) is shown with his staff: Freddy Villanueva, Mike Peguero, and Tania Gomes. Not pictured is Dave Clavijo. All are wearing the USA home and away team soccer shirts. Staff members all speak Spanish, notes Mr. Teleky.

“It’s soccer here, but in the rest of the world, it’s football — not to be confused with our own American football. By whatever name, it is zooming in popularity, and players of all ages and every skill level, are eagerly participating. And now, with interest at peak excitement during the World Cup, the Princeton Soccer Experience shop at 190 Witherspoon Street is a focus of attention.

“Because of the World Cup, this has been our busiest month ever,” reports owner Tibor Teleky. “The interest is huge. We have lots of new customers because of it, including from other countries. They want to support their team.”

Mr. Teleky is a long-time soccer enthusiast, both player and coach. He currently coaches the West Windsor Soccer Association teams for boys under 16 and under 11. He believes his store, which opened in early 2013, is a perfect match with Princeton. “There was really a need for this kind of store. There is nothing like it in Princeton, and the interest in soccer is so strong now. Kids start playing at very young ages.”

Mr. Teleky, a graduate of Rutgers University and recipient of an MBA degree from the Central European University in Budapest, has also worked in the corporate world with Merrill Lynch. He decided to pursue his dream to open a soccer specialty shop, however, and he definitely wanted it to be in Princeton.

International Aspect

“I like the international aspect of Princeton, and I wanted to have the shop here in the downtown, where there is a lot going on. People here are really interested in soccer, and I have many regular customers. I have a growing clientele. It’s everyone — kids, teens, parents, and older people. If people have played regularly, they can continue to play in their 70s.”

The shop features a wide range of of soccer equipment, clothing, and accessories in a light and bright setting, which also offers a large TV screen, showing soccer matches, including the World Cup.

Items are available for men, women, and children, and include balls, warm-up clothing, soccer shirts, T-shirts, team jerseys, shorts, shoes (“cleats”) and socks.

“We have USA home and away jerseys, and they are very popular,” reports Mr. Teleky “They are in all sizes for youth and adults. Girls and women’s shirts are also available now. In July, the new designs for club jerseys come out, and that creates great interest. Warm-up jackets are favorites too, especially those from the U.S. and Brazil, and we have many others.”

A variety of balls in different colors and designs, weights, and sizes, including the small “skill” balls, sizes 3, 4, and 5 for kids, are all available. “We also have the special World Cup design ‘Brazucca’ ball by Adidas,” notes Mr. Teleky. Regular balls are typically $20 and $30.

Shoes, including special designs for the World Cup, are from Nike and Adidas, and feature bright, contemporary designs. They range from $60 to $120. “Most people have more than one pair of soccer shoes,” points out Mr. Teleky, “and we can definitely accommodate them.”

Huge Buzz

Colorful fan scarves and flags, representing different teams, are on display, along with assorted accessories, including the very popular Panini World Cup stickers, which kids love for $1 a pack. With the continued growth of soccer in the U.S., Mr. Teleky is very optimistic about his store. “Interest in soccer is growing all the time in the U.S., ever since 1994, when the World Cup was held here. Every time there is an international game, the stands are packed. There’s a huge buzz about soccer.

“Important U.S. Clubs are Red Bull in New York, the Philadelphia Union, and New York FC. This last one is co-owned by the New York Yankees and the Manchester City Soccer Club in England. It shows the potential for soccer in the U.S. The opportunity is here for it to grow and grow.”

And he believes that will translate to more and more interest in the Princeton Soccer Experience. “We have people from Princeton and the area, and I enjoy meeting all of them. We talk about soccer and the different teams, and we try to give customers a good experience. Everyone likes the personal touch.

“We always work hard to improve our service and the quality of the merchandise,” he adds. “We want to be the ‘go to’ Princeton soccer specialty shop in the area.”

Mr. Teleky also points out that his Witherspoon Street location is not far from the library and just a short walk from Nassau Street.

Hours are Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 10 to 7, Sunday 10 to 3. (609) 580-1924. Website: www.princetonse.com.

—Jean Stratton

 
June 18, 2014
TIME SAVER: “Time for Dinner will provide you with recipes for five simple, healthy meals, including side dishes each week. Meal plans are created to be efficient and eliminate waste. We also include an organized shopping list, cost estimates to help keep you on budget, a list of pantry items you will need, and guides to meal preparation.” Trish Ryan, founder and owner of Time for Dinner, enjoys shopping for healthful meals.

TIME SAVER: “Time for Dinner will provide you with recipes for five simple, healthy meals, including side dishes each week. Meal plans are created to be efficient and eliminate waste. We also include an organized shopping list, cost estimates to help keep you on budget, a list of pantry items you will need, and guides to meal preparation.” Trish Ryan, founder and owner of Time for Dinner, enjoys shopping for healthful meals.

What’s for dinner? Finally — that age-old question has been answered. Time for Dinner, the new on-line subscription food service has solved the problem!

It provides weekly menus, recipes, and a shopping list to relieve the family cook of the need to do all the time-consuming planning.

“There are two things we can all agree upon as parents — we are busier than ever, and we wish we had more time with our families. Dinner time is one time each day when we can slow down and connect with our families. Our goal, at Time for Dinner, is to make dinner happen. We have made the dinner process easier, so you can enjoy sitting down together as a family.”

Trish Ryan, founder and owner of Time for Dinner is determined to help families enjoy a relaxed, healthy meal, and spend this important time together.

Face-to-Face

Mother of three (ages 16, 13, and 9), she had always focused on family dinners, she reports. “I believed that the most precious time of the day was when everyone came home and sat down to eat dinner. It became our safe haven; electronics were turned off, and our kids really looked forward to it. It’s time to be together and have face-to-face conversation.

“As we became accustomed to eating together, every Sunday night, I’d sit down with my cookbooks, and plan the meals for the week ahead,” she continues. “When you have a plan, everything is much easier.”

As time passed, Ms. Ryan sought a way to share her family’s experience with others. She came up with the idea of an on-line subscription food service, and last August, Time for Dinner was launched.

“With our easy meal-planning service, we’ll save you (1) from staring at a pantry full of food with no idea what to cook; (2) trying to make a favorite family meal, but realizing that you don’t have an essential ingredient; and (3) ordering yet another take-out meal for the second or third time in a week.

What Ms. Ryan offers is five menus a week, a complete, detailed shopping list of ingredients with cost estimates, and cooking instructions.

“Our plan features five meals: three meat (chicken, beef or pork), one fish/seafood, and one vegetarian each week. We also offer ingredient substitutions to make each meal gluten-free. Eventually, we plan to have three separate full menus each week: classic, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

Kid-Friendly

“The dinner serves four people,” she continues, “and I also provide information on how long it takes to prepare the food. With our on-the-go shopping list, you’ll be in and out of the store in 20 minutes, spend less than $100, and be ready for the week ahead.

“And we don’t just grab random recipes and call it a meal plan. We mix and match the list of ingredients to create balanced dinners that play off each other. Also, the recipes are child-friendly, and get our family stamp of approval before they are added to our weekly menus.”

Customers who sign up for the subscription service have the choice of a 3-month plan for $18 or a yearly plan for $60.

Sample meals for a recent week included spice-rubbed tilapia with stuffed zucchini; black bean and sweet potato tortados; Jamaican pork tenderloin and zucchini rice; flank steak with roasted vegetable orzo salad; and red curry chicken stir fry.

Ms. Ryan points out that some parts of each meal can be prepared at the beginning of the week, unless otherwise noted, to save time on meal nights. She also includes specific information on preparation time and actual cooking time.

Customers are not only from Princeton and the area, but from as far afield as Florida, Alabama, and California, reports Ms. Ryan, and they are very enthusiastic. Positive comments keep coming, as word-of-mouth grows.

Recipe Repertoire

“We keep getting more people all the time, and they especially love the variety and all the different possibilities. For example, you’ll have chicken again on the menu, but it will be prepared differently. Typically, most people have 10 to 12 meals in their recipe repertoire. There are no repeats in my house! Sometimes, if the kids really like something, they will ask to have it again.”

Ms. Ryan is finding her new adventure to be a real pleasure. As she says, “When you do something you love, you don’t mind the work. And I love sharing this with people. It is a real time saver, and can help everyone to be more relaxed at dinner.

“Even when your are busy, one thing you can do is cook your own food. It is so much healthier. When everything is planned ahead, it takes less time than you think. And imagine the end result! It is so essential — to feed your family a healthy dinner and all sit at the table together and enjoy it. I look forward to helping more families to do this all over the country.”

Customers can sign up on the Time for Dinner website, where they can also access the menus. Information is also available on Facebook, and Ms. Ryan provides a frequent blog featuring cooking experiences and tips, and  the pleasure of eating together as a family. Website: www.timefordinner
planning.com.

 

June 4, 2014
NTU Pr.lifestyle.women only photos

HEALTHY LIFE-STYLES: “Our goal, as physicians practicing lifestyle medicine, is to reduce the incidence of lifestyle-related diseases and even death through promoting and supporting positive life-style changes in our patients’ lives. We are very excited to emphasize healthy lifestyles with the goal of preventing diseases rather than just treating diseases once they have developed.” Dr. Barbara A. Brown (left) and Dr. Lynne B. Kossow have opened Princeton Lifestyle Medicine in addition to their long-time internal medicine practice.

Primary care physicians Dr. Barbara A. Brown and Dr. Lynn B. Kossow have added a new dimension to their practice at 731 Alexander Road: Princeton Lifestyle Medicine.

“Lifestyle medicine interventions, including diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and stress reduction, have been shown to help prevent and/or reduce the incidence of many diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity,” explain the doctors. “There is now an ever-growing body of evidence showing the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions for lowering the rise of developing chronic diseases, as well as for assisting in the management and possibly the elimination of many existing chronic conditions.”

An important aspect of lifestyle medicine is that it is evidence-based. Drs. Brown and Kossow emphasize that a substantial amount of scientific evidence exists demonstrating that positive life-style changes can indeed make important differences in one’s health. This is not holistic or alternative medicine, they add.

“It is estimated that lifestyle factors, such as chronic stress, poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, lack of connectiveness and support, cigarette smoking, and excess alcohol consumption, result in a 72 percent increase in deaths from heart attacks and strokes and a 44 percent increase in deaths due to cancer,” notes Dr. Kossow. “Research has shown that physician counseling about these lifestyle factors can help patients reduce the incidence, and reverse or slow down the progression of these diseases.”

Long-range Changes

Several medical institutions are now including lifestyle medical education opportunities. Among them are the Harvard Institute of lifestyle Medicine (affiliated with Harvard Medical School), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, and the Cleveland Clinic.

The goal is to reduce or eliminate many prevalent diseases by helping patients adopt changes for the long-range that will benefit their health. The idea is not a quick fix, but a sustained, on-going focus on exercise, healthy diet, and stress management.

For example, weight is an issue for many people today, notes Dr. Brown. “People can lose 10, 20, 30 pounds on a diet, and then gain it all back. This happens frequently. They are basically still doing the same thing. What we do is take time with the patients to help them understand what underlies the problem and together, with them, devise a change in their lifestyle.”

The active engagement and participation of the patient is crucial, emphasizes Dr. Kossow. “The idea isn’t that I am going to tell them to exercise 30 minutes a day. That’s obviously not working. Instead, we delve deeply into what is making it difficult for them, and then, the idea is to come up with a plan they feel they can stick to and enjoy. Perhaps they can squeeze in 10 minutes of exercise during their lunch hour. But I don’t know about their lunch hour. They do, and so, together, we can come up with a plan.”

Dr. Brown agrees: “We are not telling them what to do. We are asking them what they feel they can do.”

No doubt, many physicians advise their patients to eat healthy diets, engage in exercise, stop smoking, and adopt stress-relieving techniques. What is different about lifestyle medicine is the time element, the opportunity to spend more time with a patient, points out Dr. Kossow. “There is never enough time today. A typical office visit is often 15 minutes, and the doctor is often rushing to diagnose and prescribe treatment. There is little time to talk with the patient about the underlying problems.”

Internal Medicine

Indeed, time vanishes quickly today. Our increasingly high tech society emphasizes speed. Everyone is rushed, and this affects many areas of one’s life — from time management to eating. As Dr. Kossow reports, “There are many difficulties today. An example is that so many people are in a hurry, so they emphasize take-out or fast food instead of preparing a healthy meal at home.”

Board-certified in internal medicine and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Kossow has practiced for more than 20 years. In addition, she is an attending physician at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine.

A graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, Dr. Brown is also board certified in internal medicine, practicing for 19 years. She is an attending physician at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Both physicians are members of the American College of Physicians as well as the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Practicing together for 16 years, they wanted to find a way to spend more time with a patient in order to discover in detail what he or she is facing, and to help the patient truly engage in positive lifestyle changes.

“We have really been trying to do this for years, but were always so limited by the amount of time we could spend with a patient,” notes Dr. Brown. “We decided to take a course at the Harvard Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, and this led us to add this concept to our practice. Now, we can focus on a different way of helping patients. We work as healthcare coaches, asking patients what it is they want to change, and counseling them.”

Lifestyle Choices

With positive lifestyle choices, there can be less reliance on medications. When appropriate, however, Dr. Brown and Dr. Kossow prescribe medicines, as well as all needed vaccinations.

A patient who enrolls in the Princeton Medicine Lifestyle program pays an initial fee of $1,000, which is not covered by insurance,  but can be paid in installments. In addition to a medical evaluation, this entitles the patient to specialized care and counseling. As the doctors explain, “In order to practice lifestyle medicine, we will need to spend significantly more time with each of our lifestyle patients. We will begin each program with an initial one-hour consultation. This will help us to understand your lifestyle, including your eating habits at home and in restaurants, your work habits, exercise habits, and the factors influencing the amount of daily stress you experience.

“We need to understand details about your life in order to customize a comprehensive individual lifestyle medicine program that will work for you. We will then add extra time to your non-urgent follow-up visits and yearly physicals to support you through any individual obstacles you may encounter, and to help you sustain these changes as you succeed over time. We will also be available to you via email and telephone on weekdays to help you with the lifestyle changes you are choosing to make.”

So far, most of the lifestyle medicine patients are those whom the doctors have been treating in their regular practice. However, the Princeton Lifestyle Medicine program is open to everyone, including individuals who are seen by other primary care physicians.

“This is much more personal medicine,” notes Dr. Kossow. “We help each patient understand that lifestyle changes can profoundly affect their health and that it is based on scientific evidence. I love the close relationships I develop with patients, and it is wonderful when I see the different generations in the same family: grandparents, parents, and kids after they are 18. What I really love about the practice of medicine are its challenges and mysteries. I want to help people live healthy lives, and we find that the patients are thrilled when we are now able to spend a lot more time with them, and that we can come up with a plan to benefit their health.”

Dr. Brown echoes that view. “I love the medical relationship and partnership with patients, and getting to know them as people. And one of the awesome things about practicing medicine is that there is always something new.”

In the case of lifestyle medicine, it may be a new approach to the practice of internal medicine today; however, its underlying concept goes back to the very beginnings of medicine, to the days of Hippocrates, who said: “Let food be your medicine … and walking is man’s best medicine.” Some ideas do stand the test of time!

Princeton Lifestyle Medicine offers hours by appointment. (609) 655-3800. Website: www.princetonprimary
caredoctors.com.

—Jean Stratton

 
NTU Cafe Vienna

OLD WORLD SPECIALTIES: “I want to put a smile on people’s faces! I want the customers to feel comfortable and welcome, and be able to experience the flavors and aromas of a European café. Many people come in and say, this reminds them of home.” Anita Waldenberger (right), owner of Café Vienna, is shown with staff members Nathan Besteman and Berline Jean-Louis.

The buzz all over town is about Café Vienna. Just opened in April, it already has a legion of fans, who are captivated by the delicious coffees and pastries to be found within.

Located at 200 Nassau Street (the former site of the Piccadilly), it truly is a touch of the Old World, reminiscent of the cafés and coffee houses in Europe. This is the mission of owner Anita Waldenberger, who grew up in Austria.

“When I first visited Princeton in 2002, I liked it right away and felt at home. I have now lived here 11 years, and it has a wonderful international atmosphere. There are people from all over the world.”

When her brother and his family visited from Munich, he mentioned he couldn’t find a coffee house similar to the cafés in Europe, she reports. This encouraged Ms. Waldenberger to open such a place.

Relaxed Atmosphere

In Austria, she had visited many coffee houses and cafés, and also completed an apprenticeship at Kurhotels Warmbaderhof in Warmbad-Villach, a 5-Star luxury resort in Austria. In addition to her background in the hospitality industry, Ms. Waldenberger worked in real estate and banking for several years, and brought all these experiences to her new business venture.

The café, which has five tall café tables and chairs inside, as well as five places at the counter, also offers five tables outside. It provides the same relaxed atmosphere found in the European cafés; customers are never rushed, and can enjoy the opportunity to linger over delicious coffee and pastries.

Ms. Waldenberger was determined to offer the highest quality to her patrons. She worked with a German baker to adapt her family recipes to the pastries, and selected special Colombian coffee beans, roasted in Italy. “Our pastries, which are all preservative-free, are typical of Austrian pastries, and all are my mother’s recipes,” she notes.

Pastries include many of the old world favorites, such as apple strudel, sacher torte (Viennese dark chocolate cake with apricot filling), black forest cake with cherry filling and whipped cream, 3-tier marzipan cake with raspberry filling, butter cream and almond paste,  marble cake flavored with lemon, and cheese cake.

“We also have a gluten-free fennel cake that was my mother’s recipe,” adds Ms. Waldenberger. “We are always introducing new products such as linzer cookies and flourless chocolate cake.”

In addition, Café Vienna serves a breakfast and lunch ham and cheese or turkey and cheese sandwich with tomato and lettuce on a croissant or baguette. This is especially popular as a brunch on weekends, but is available every day.

Special Blend

The special blend coffee, served in over-size cups, is rich, smooth, and flavorful. Choices include regular, cappuccino, espresso, café latte, also café mocha (hot chocolate with a single shot of espresso), and Viennese hot chocolate with whipped cream.

“Our baristas make great coffee,” reports Ms. Waldenberger.

Tea aficionados will be pleased to find a selection of Earl Grey, including decaf breakfast blend, as well as organic breakfast tea, and organic green tea. The tea is served in an elegant single portion china pot and cup. Iced coffee and iced coffee with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream are also on the menu. Other beverages include juices, Coca Cola, and Pellegrino sparkling water.

Prices start at $3.25 for regular coffee, $4.25 for cappuccino, $4.50 for marble cake, up to $6.25 for marzipan cake. Sandwiches are $7.

Ms. Waldenberger says that customers are enjoying everything. “It’s really across the board — all the coffees and all the pastries. They just like everything! And everyone, including the other merchants, has been so friendly. We have had a very warm welcome. Princeton people are very friendly.”

She is delighted that the clientele represents all ages and people from all over, including many regulars, who come in often.

Time-Consuming

“My husband and I love it here,” says a Princeton resident, originally from Switzerland, who stops in more than once a week. “We relive our childhood memories here. It feels and tastes like home!”

The hospitality industry is known for the time-consuming and painstaking effort needed for success. “You have to have a passion for it,” notes Ms. Waldenberger. “We work hard to offer the best quality and product line. People deserve the best for their money. My philosophy is that when people spend good money on a product, they can expect the best we have to offer. Our products speak for themselves.

“People will know they can count on getting the best here. I always want to be humble and never take anything for granted,” she adds. “I do quality control every day, and we taste everything. I have a wonderful staff, who enjoy coming to work, and say they have fun here. We want to be a place for everyone to come and find pleasure. They can take time out to relax. I think it is very exciting to start something new. I am also developing a business clientele. People can enjoy coming in, sitting down with coffee and a pastry, and have a business meeting.”

Take-out is also available at the café, and in addition, customers can purchase whole cakes if they order two days ahead.

Ms. Waldenberger says she looks forward to being in Princeton a long time. “I want to make our customers happy and give them a touch of the Old World. I look forward to offering the community the very best we have to offer. I am so very happy to be here.”

Café Vienna is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 to 8. (609) 924-5100. Website: www.cafeviennaprinceton.com.

May 28, 2014
ALL ABOUT ACCESSORIES: “I like color, and I like texture. We specialize in scarves, jewelry, and handbags. My mix of accessories is culled from my own love of the items as well as listening to what my customers want.” Hannah Schussel is owner of Hannah! Jewelry & Accessories, the new shop on Chambers Street.

ALL ABOUT ACCESSORIES: “I like color, and I like texture. We specialize in scarves, jewelry, and handbags. My mix of accessories is culled from my own love of the items as well as listening to what my customers want.” Hannah Schussel is owner of Hannah! Jewelry & Accessories, the new shop on Chambers Street.

Accessories complete the fashion statement. They also add flair, fun, and flourish.

Now, there is a shop in Princeton that is all about accessories. Hannah! Jewelry & Accessories opened in March at 6 Chambers Street, and is ready to help with that special look.

“I love being a retailer. This is what I do,” explains owner Hannah Schussel. She certainly has experience. Former owner of Toys …. The Store on Palmer Square for several years, Ms. Schussel went on to wear many hats at the gift shop at McCarter Theater. “I created, managed, and bought for that shop for 12½ years. When it closed last year, I realized that I missed it. Just as I felt all those years ago when we began our toy store, being a retailer is part of me. I love the interaction with people it allows me.”

“I especially wanted to be in Princeton. Being part of the Princeton community of merchants feels as if I’m back home with family. And it’s great just being two blocks away from McCarter.”

Special Focus

Ms. Schussel wanted to focus on accessories because “people love them. We have items from around the world, including the U.S., Colombia, France, Italy, Germany, and the U.K. I decided to start with 20 of the most popular lines we had at McCarter, and see what people liked.”

So far, they seem to like everything, with a special focus on scarves, she adds. “The scarves are mostly from Italy, with some from local textile designers as well, and we will also be getting others from Africa,” she reports. “They are silk, cotton, and viscose (natural fiber), and the very large ones are especially popular. They range in price from $29 to $97.”

The selection includes a variety of over-size multi-colored choices in gorgeous designs as well as smaller sizes. “We also have vintage scarves with fabric from the 1920s and 30s, with fringes done by women in Bolivia,” says Ms. Schussel. “And, people are buying more than one. A woman came in recently, got one as a gift for a friend, and then bought one for herself. This happens all the time.”

The eclectic jewelry collection is also intriguing customers, she adds. “It’s like eye candy! We offer up-to-the-minute costume jewelry always based on seasonal fashion colors. And our prices are for everyone — a very wide range, including crystal studs from Germany for $19. We have items from Patricia Locke and also Anne Koplik, who designs all the jewelry for ‘Dancing With the Stars’. In addition, the jewelry from Pink Powder in England incorporates semi-precious stones and very avant garde styles.”

Clip-on Earrings

“Another line from Detail includes antique brass and cabochons, that is, cone-shaped multi-surface glass, which is polished to offer multi facets. There are necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, and they are striking.”

Ms. Schussel also wants customers to know that she offers a selection of clip-on earrings.

Handbags are in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, including leather designs from Latico; a new clutch line by the designers of Big Buddha bags; and Mei vintage bags with vintage kimono fabric will be available soon. A lovely selection of evening bags is also offered.

Related items include charming purse hangers in assorted colors, which can attach to the edge of a restaurant table, effectively concealing the handbag below the table. Attractive Ponchee purse inserts are also in several colors, with spaces for cell phone, wallet, etc. They are pretty enough to be used as a small purse, offered at $35.

AirQuart see-through travel plastic cosmetic bags from Flannabag are popular at $21, and the same company offers jewelry pockets.

Ms. Schussel notes that rolling travel bags will also be available soon. Small eyeglass magnets — the glasses attach to the magnet, which is worn near the shoulder — are another popular choice, and there is also a nice selection of hair accessories.

Engaging Collection

Men are not forgotten, and wallets and cuff links are available for them. In addition, a selection of greeting cards — all handpicked by Ms. Schussel — rounds out the engaging collection of items in this charming shop.

“I look forward to having a shop that people will go out of their way to visit and spend time in,” says Ms. Schussel. “Our customers are all ages, and we have a price range for everyone — from $15 to several hundred dollars. I want people to feel comfortable and at home — just as they did at the toy store. They can try things on, sit down, and see what they like. I really enjoy the interaction with everyone, and I am so glad that people are finding me.”

She adds that special 10 percent discounts are available for former McCarter Gift Shop customers and for first time customers to Hannah! In addition, a special “Celebrate Princeton” discount will be offered to Princeton University alumni wearing orange and black during Reunions weekend.

Hannah! is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Friday until 7, and Sunday noon to 5. (609)921-2490. Website: www.hannahshop.com.

 

May 14, 2014
SPRING PLANTING: “After nearly 50 years, we are still true to our initial intent of offering unusual plant material and horticultural enjoyment to our customers.” David Scudder, owner of Ambleside Gardens & Nursery, looks forward to sharing Ambleside’s outstanding selection of plants, trees, and shrubs, all ready for springtime splendor.

SPRING PLANTING: “After nearly 50 years, we are still true to our initial intent of offering unusual plant material and horticultural enjoyment to our customers.” David Scudder, owner of Ambleside Gardens & Nursery, looks forward to sharing Ambleside’s outstanding selection of plants, trees, and shrubs, all ready for springtime splendor.

Named for a village in the Lake District of England, Ambleside Gardens and Nursery was opened in 1965 by Townsend and Mary Scudder. Located on Route 206 in Belle Mead, it was a smaller version of what it is today: a thriving family-owned nursery and landscape center.

When the Scudders opened Ambleside, there were no other garden centers in the area. They offered a garden shop, fully stocked with plants, trees, and shrubs, and also a landscaping service. In addition, an international gift shop, filled with items from around the world, became a uniquely popular part of the Ambleside scene.

The Scudders developed a loyal and growing clientele over the years, with customers coming not only from Princeton and the area, but from New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Ambleside has been the subject of articles in books, magazines, and newspapers, and has also won numerous awards, including five Governor’s Trophies for Best in Show at the New Jersey Flower Show.

When Mr. and Mrs. Scudder retired to Vermont last year, Ambleside remained in the family. Their son David had taken on the reins of ownership earlier, and is determined to continue the Ambleside legacy. Formerly in charge of the landscaping service, he has a long history and strong interest and expertise in horticulture.

Busiest Time

“I helped out here as a boy. We all did — my brothers and sister — and I developed a liking for it,” he explains. “I came on full-time in 1982, and I helped people with the design and organization of their landscapes. What grows well where, what plants like sun or shade, and when and where they should be planted. It’s important to put a plant where it wants to be, whether it’s in sun or shade. And if a plant will grow to be 20 feet, don’t plant it under a bay window!”

This is the busiest time of year — from April until the beginning of June, adds Mr. Scudder. “People are interested in gardening, and even though there are a lot of things competing for their free time, gardening remains a popular activity.”

Among other things, it is a great stress reliever. In this high tech age, when everyone seems so rushed, the hands-on experience of digging in the soil is very basic. It’s relaxing, therapeutic, gets people outside, provides exercise, and can be a family activity. It can also be a special awakening moment for children.

In the words of Townsend Scudder, “What’s more exciting than putting in a seed, and seeing the miracles that happen? From seeds grow gardens of miracles!”

Gardening is a welcome activity for all ages, including the older generation, he adds. “it gives people something to look forward to, to remain curious about, and keeps them young.” He may be on to something. Supporting evidence comes from an expert. “But though I am an old man, I am but a young gardener,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1811. Mr. Jefferson lived to be 83.

Gardening does take some effort, however. As Mary Scudder noted, with a smile, “A lot of people want a beautiful garden without work or with low maintenance. That just won’t happen. Low maintenance means on your knees! Of course, we can help with information on what plants grow well where, and what needs a lot of maintenance, what will take dry soil, wet soil, etc.”

Time Schedule

It is also helpful to know which plants can be planted early and which should wait for guaranteed warm temperatures. The knowledgeable Ambleside staff is ready to provide information to customers regarding the appropriate time schedule.

“Pansies are popular now, and they like cool temperatures, as does alyssum,” notes David Scudder. Roses can be planted now, and also, cold weather vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach. Flowering trees, including cherry, dogwood, pear, and plums are very popular, and can be planted now, also forsythia, azalea, hydrangea, and rhododendron.

A number of perennials, such as primroses, bleeding hearts, Christmas and Lenten roses, and foxglove, can also be planted in cooler temperatures.

“To be safe, wait until May 15 to plant many annuals, including geraniums, petunias, snapdragons, and impatiens, when there is no risk of frost,” advises Mr. Scudder. “Also, these are all popular for hanging baskets and container gardens on decks and terraces.

“This winter was very hard on plants and trees, especially newer ones,” he adds. “The ground was frozen for such a long time, it was hard on the root system.”

One of the major issues facing gardeners and those who enjoy their flowering landscape is the deer problem. If fencing is not an option, there are ways to discourage the deer, whether by using deterrent products or incorporating plants unattractive to them.

Deterrent Products

“There are many plants deer don’t like, including perennial geraniums, ferns, ornamental grasses, and Siberian iris, as well as such shrubs as boxwood, gold cypress, and spirea,” points out Mr. Scudder. “In addition, vinca and lantana have become popular annuals because the deer don’t like them.”

Among the deterrent products are Deer-Off and Milorganite, and it is a good idea to alternate them for the best results.

Ambleside has long been known for its collection of unusual plant material, and this continues to set this garden center apart. “We try to have a niche, and people know we have rare and unusual plants, including many dwarf evergreens, dwarf pines, and dwarf spruces. Our collection of Japanese maples is very well-known, and we have 100 different varieties. I like introducing people to something different, unusual plants they have never known about.

“And I like helping them learn where to plant so the garden will flourish,” continus Mr. Scudder. “We have a complimentary landscape consultation service here. Customers can bring in a printed photo of their property and a scaled diagram, and we will help them establish a garden.

“I am always pleasantly surprised when I meet younger people interested in plants and gardening. Sometimes, we get second generations of customers, who came here as kids, then moved away, and now have come back. They like to bring their children to see the fish in our pond, but they are interested in learning about the plants and gardening.”

Customers will also find a varied selection of garden ornaments and statuary, wind chimes, and bird feeders, all popular items in the spring. “We are always happy to find items made in the U.S. and be able to offer them to customers,” says Mr. Scudder. “Our gift shop, although especially popular at Christmas, is open every season, and we try very hard to find things from all over the world, including the U.S.”

Ambleside, with its current vista of color, attractive and convenient arrangement of plantings in appropriate settings, and with descriptive maps and informative charts, is a delightful place to visit. Never more so than in the spring.

A welcoming place for all ages, it is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday until 8, and Sunday 10 to 5. (908) 359-8388. Website: www.amblesidegardens.com.

 

April 29, 2014
NTU Zastra 1-15-14

FASHIONABLE LOOK: “This jacket features hand-sewn sequins. If you have a black dress, you can add the jacket for a fashionable look. It’s a great way to dress up your outfit.” Aruna Arya, owner of Zastra, the new women’s boutique on Palmer Square, is shown with a selection of her own designs, including this gold jacket with unique sequinned handwork.

“What you love to wear is fashion!”

Aruna Arya should know. As a fashion designer and owner of Zastra, the new women’s boutique at 28 Palmer Square East, Ms. Arya is an expert on the latest styles and trends in today’s fashion.

It is about comfort, individuality, informality, and versatility. Unlike times past, when the great fashion houses of Paris, London, and New York set strict guidelines about styles, skirt lengths, and the like, today it is up to the individual.

“Some women are looking for something totally different, unusual,” points out Ms. Arya. “I have always been attracted to comfortable clothing myself, and I incorporate that in my designs — free-flowing and often cotton, with an informal theme and lots of color.”

Originally from India, Ms. Arya earned master degrees in fashion design and fashion business administration in the U.S. and India. She worked for several years as a designer in San Francisco, where she developed a network of colleagues in the fashion industry.

“I worked with designer Joseph Domingo, and I learned a lot from him,” she notes.

Vivid Colors

India is known for its stunningly vivid colors and color combinations, and Ms. Arya’s styles often reflect this intriguing mosaic. “My knowledge of Indian fashion helps me in selecting a fine fabric, experimenting with colors, and achieving the highest quality of hand embroidery.”

Formerly owner of the women’s shop, Miss Simoni, Ms. Arya opened her new boutique in November, offering her own designs as well as those of others, all under the Zastra label.

“Beaded items are special for me,” she explains. “I love to design them; they are hand-sewn in India, and the garments are one-of-a-kind. The workmanship is unique.

“Also, from the time I started Miss Simoni, I established myself as a fashion designer for private clients in town. I’ve had a lot of referrals and word-of-mouth. I did two wardrobes for one client, and another woman wanted me to design a dress when she was presented with a lifetime achievement award. She wanted me to include a variety of her other awards and logos into the dress. It was quite a challenge! I am currently designing a bridal outfit for a bride in Princeton.

“My designs appeal to all ages,” she continues. “If I’m feeling youthful, I’ll do youthful sketches. If I am feeling more established and mature, I’ll do other kinds of sketches. Generally, the sizes run from extra small to extra large.”

Dresses and jackets in a variety of styles are on display in the charming shop, and many feature hand-sewn beading. Sophisticated styling is prominent, including an elegantly individualized red jacket which can add sparkle to a black dress. Another look is a military-style jacket, also one of Ms. Arya’s designs.

Exceptional Scarves

Assorted outerwear, including wool coats and jackets, offer a variety of styles for the winter, and the selection of scarves is exceptional. Gorgeous lightweight wool choices, often with fringe and tassels, feature digitally printed designs in beautiful color combinations.

“The scarves are highly popular,” notes Ms. Arya. “A scarf is something you can always wear; it can enhance any outfit, and complete the fashion statement. We have all kinds and sizes of scarves, starting at $40. People love our scarves so much!”

Jewelry is another favorite at Zastra, with a variety of colorful choices from $25. “Jewelry is a great quick gift,” she points out, “and our necklaces have been especially popular.”

Handbags, also important accessories, are another specialty, including striking designs in leather.

Ms. Arya adds that she is very pleased that many customers from Miss Simoni are coming to Zastra, as well as many new clients.

“I saw all the colorful items in the window,” reports Princeton resident Lisa Granozio, who came into the store recently on impulse, and purchased several items. “The shop has such a nice open space and an eclectic look, and I love supporting new local business owners.”

Zastra always has a number of promotions and events, including shopping parties with refreshments and music, adds Ms. Arya. “Friends and customers come in to celebrate birthdays or other occasions and have a fashion night out. I always have a promotion for the party with discounted prices. The person who is having the birthday asks the guests not to bring presents, but to buy something, and I donate a portion of the sales to a charity of her choice. These have been very popular and a lot of fun.”

Team Effort

Ms. Arya is delighted to be off to such a good start at the Palmer Square location, and is grateful to Palmer Square management.

“I want to say that it is a blessing to be here on Palmer Square. The management is so helpful. They work with you, and it is a real team effort. I also appreciate all the ladies — customers and friends — who believed in me. They gave me the courage to do this. They make me feel like a Princetonian!

“I think customers find that Zastra is set apart by the fact that everything here is very original, and many items — more than half — have been designed by me,” continues Ms. Arya. “A lot are also made in the U.S., and many of the other designers are young, just beginning, and have new and fresh ideas. A lot of customers, including tourists, who come in, say they only want to shop in a local, independent store. They are looking for something different, and appreciate our quality designs and the unique materials we offer.

“Zastra means ‘art’ in Sanskrit, and I wanted to make the boutique like an art studio.”

The boutique is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 to 8:30, Sunday 11 to 5. (609) 924-5752. Web: www.zastra.net.

—Jean Stratton

 
April 23, 2014
SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE: “I am an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister, and also a spiritual director, sometimes called spiritual guide or spiritual companion,” explains Reverend Laura Craig. She offers spiritual guidance to people of many backgrounds.

SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE: “I am an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister, and also a spiritual director, sometimes called spiritual guide or spiritual companion,” explains Reverend Laura Craig. She offers spiritual guidance to people of many backgrounds.

Reverend Laura Craig wants to assist people on their spiritual journey, share their doubts and questions, and ultimately help them discover the spiritual path that is right for them.

“The focus of interfaith ministry is that everyone’s path is legitimate, holy, and good for them,” explains Reverend Laura.

An interfaith/interspiritual minister and spiritual director, Reverend Laura traveled her on own journey before she found that her life work was in helping others achieve spiritual well-being. Growing up in Westchester County, New York, she attended the Catholic Church and Catholic schools, and her best friend was Jewish. “I went to her family’s Seders and other religious celebrations, and I was always wondering about different faiths at a young age,” says Rev. Laura.

Majoring in biology at Fordham University, she found that she was focused on other areas, and “my spirituality was on the back burner for a while.”

Spiritual Awakening

After graduating, she married, had a child, and later went on to earn a masters degree in food science at Rutgers University. Then, several years ago, she developed chronic fatigue syndrome, which forced her to stop working due to severe exhaustion and other symptoms. During this time, she consulted physicians, therapists, herbalists, and a number of other specialists in her search for a means of recovery.

“I was so exhausted that I was basically unable to do anything,” she explains. “However, my spiritual life blossomed during my illness. There can be a spiritual awakening during a low period of one’s life.”

Gradually, her energy returned, and she set up a monthly support group at St. Joseph’s Church in Hillsborough to help people going through a divorce. “It was anywhere from eight to 12 people, and it was helpful to them and me,” points out Rev. Laura. “I had something to do and was entering life again. In time, the group expanded to weekly meetings.”

“At one point, a woman called, and wanted to be part of the group. She was Jewish, and this was a Christian-based program. I said I would try to make it more interfaith-oriented, but she felt she couldn’t participate. So, I thought I could develop my own interfaith program. I decided on three 13 week group sessions during the year, and it went very well.”

“Every week, there was a different topic. Divorce is like a hurricane — everything is torn apart. We also had an opening and closing prayer, which I wrote. By this time, I was healthier, and after getting a part-time job, I decided I wanted to go to school to become a spiritual director. I had found that my own spirituality was becoming more and more important to me, and the desire to be a spiritual director came out of my experience with the support group. I saw that people could surely benefit from spiritual direction.”

She attended Oasis School in Pennsylvania, which offered a two-year program. “You study all the different religions, looking at how people pray and how they relate to their God,” explains Rev. Laura. “One of the important lessons was that they said you have to let go of everything you know and learn how to listen. This is an ancient concept.”

Same Truths

“I learned more about all the religions, and my whole world opened up. There was a new awareness of how other people pray and practice their faith. Actually, the central part of every religion is really the same, with the same essence: faith in a higher power, and all stress the same truths, including goodness and righteousness.”

As a spiritual director, Rev. Laura can serve as a companion to anyone who is on a spiritual journey. “Basically, the only requirement for spiritual direction is one’s desire and openness to discuss, express, or grow in intimacy with God,” she explains. “You, the directee, decide what to discuss. Whatever is going on in your life is the entrance way for us to explore together where God is taking initiative and your responses to God’s actions. As director, I allow time and space for discussion, reflection, and prayer.”

Rev. Laura notes that many reasons prompt someone to see a spiritual director. “Feelings of spiritual emptiness, unconnectedness, restlessness, and the realization that one’s childhood faith is no longer enough are all reasons. Sometimes, one might have a powerful experience of the Divine, and need to discuss what has happened with someone who would understand.”

Rev. Laura is also a member of Spiritual Direction International, which has a website, offering information and guidance.

Continuing to seek ways to offer spiritual help to others, Rev. Laura discovered the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City in 2008. “Looking into it, I felt it was the right place for me. The two-year program consisted of lots of reading, writing papers, and going to different houses of worship. We spent a month on each of the major religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Native American faith practices. “We would worship with the people of all these different faiths, saying the prayers, reading the scriptures, and learning about them. It was complete immersion.”

“Interfaith ministry and interspirituality are relatively new terms on the spiritual landscape,” she continues. “Interfaith ministry enables one to minister to people of all faiths, when traditional venues cannot meet their needs. Interspirituality means that whichever spiritual path is mindfully chosen by someone, it will lead to the same Divine Unknown, the same Creator, the same God.”

Personalized Ceremonies

“All authentic spiritual traditions, at their core, are committed to the common values of peace, tolerance, wisdom, compassionate service, and love for all creation. Beneath the diversity of theological beliefs, rites, and observations lies the deeper common ground built on a clear understanding of authentic spiritual experience.”

Ordained as an interfaith minister, Rev. Laura can perform christenings, weddings, and funerals. “It is very personalized,” she explains. “I create the ceremonies for the people, and it is very individualized. An interfaith/interspiritual minister can meet the needs of someone’s life circumstances when traditional religions may not. For example, a couple not practicing any particular spiritual path may want to publicly welcome their baby and not know anyone to officiate at their ceremony. An interfaith/interspiritual minister will create and personalize a service that is meaningful to them and their guests.”

Reverend Laura also hopes to offer a series of retreats, including music, meditation, and reflection,  which will be held at her location at the Fellowship in Prayer at 291 Witherspoon Street. She is a member of the Princeton Clergy, and is also involved in prison ministry.

As she says, “We are all human, and all have the same needs and longings and frustrations. I witness that over and over again. My job as a spiritual director is to listen beneath the words to show them where God is working in their lives. I am a spiritual person, and I want to walk with people on their spiritual journey.”

“My highest aspiration as interfaith/interspiritual minister is to become a bridge between people of different faiths, enabling them to respect and honor each other’s traditions in an effort to bring some peace into our very broken world.”

Rev. Laura can be reached at (908) 281-6776. Website: groundsforministry.com.

 

FAVORITE FOOD: “There is a lot of expertise here. We are very well-educated about food. We make everything from scratch, and we really pride ourselves on the depth of our flavors.” ­Carol and Norman Todd, owners of Market Roost in Flemington, are proud of their establishment’s 33-year-old history.

FAVORITE FOOD: “There is a lot of expertise here. We are very well-educated about food. We make everything from scratch, and we really pride ourselves on the depth of our flavors.” ­Carol and Norman Todd, owners of Market Roost in Flemington, are proud of their establishment’s 33-year-old history.

The Market Roost is a Flemington treasure! Located at 65 Main Street, this caterer, restaurant, and gift gallery has been pleasing its customers since it opened in 1981. Situated in the Flemington historic district, it offers professional service in a friendly and charming setting.

Then, there is the food!

Owner and chef Norman Todd is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and served as chef in many fine restaurants in California and Florida before opening Market Roost. His co-owner and wife Carol Todd is the pastry chef, food stylist, and catering event planner, as well as overseer of the eclectic gift selection.

“The business really evolved,” notes Ms. Todd. “Originally, we had planned to be a market, and then we decided to have a restaurant too. People would come in to buy items, and then stay to eat. The 1980s were a time of a renaissance in food.”

Brunch and Lunch

“The catering business came along a bit later. We started as an eatery for brunch and lunch. Then, eight months after we opened, a customer asked if we could cater her wedding. Now, we do all kinds of catering — corporate, private, and lots of weddings. It’s all across the board, and everything is customized. We do the total package. We have an in-house floral designer, and we work with a great rental company.”

With the advent of the internet, the Market Roost’s reputation, already well-established, has spread even farther afield, reports Ms. Todd. “Recently, an independent film  company from Brooklyn, N.Y. found our website, and contacted us. “They were in Hunterdon County for a project, and they wanted catering for their company. They were very pleased with the results!”

The Market Roost is available for every kind of party and event, from picnics to elegant galas — both residential and corporate. “We did a Texas-style barbecue and then a corporate event for 1000 guests. It really varies. We start getting very busy in March with engagement parties and showers, and St. Patrick’s Day events. Then, of course, in the spring, summer, and fall, there are lots of weddings.

“Menus can be theme-oriented to include foods of Tuscany, Caribbean and Latino foods, French and Asian influences,” continues Ms. Todd, who also specializes in menu development. “Menus are developed by the customer’s food wishes and budget. We are very flexible, and work closely with our clients. Many catered events are held at private homes, offices, or at one of Hunterdon County’s historical sites. We have access to many off-site locations.”

The Market Roost has a very loyal clientele, both for catering and dining at the restaurant, and they come from all over, notes Ms. Todd. “We get people from northern N.J., New York City, and even California, when they are in the area.”

The enthusiastic critiques the Market Roost has received in the local press, as well as in The New York Times and Star Ledger, among others, has reinforced its reputation. It was also featured on the Food Network for a year on Dining Around, and its recipes were included in specialty cookbooks, and the Zagat Dining Guide.

Thanksgiving Dinner

“We often have young couples and professionals from Manhattan who come out to enjoy weekends in the country,” notes Ms. Todd. “They become repeat customers here. One of our regulars in Manhattan sent his chauffeur to pick up Thanksgiving dinner for 12. Locally, we have a lot of people from Princeton and Montgomery Township.”

Open for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea and pastries, the Market Roost is especially known for its super Sunday brunches. “Our special Sunday brunch menu has been reviewed and rated by many food critics as one of the best Sunday brunches to be found,” says Ms. Todd. “Each item is individually prepared by Norman with the infusion of many flavors. Everything is made from scratch. The Eggs Benedict with freshly-made Hollandaise sauce are extremely popular. Also our Kahlua French toast includes thick sliced egg bread, is egg-dipped, pan-cooked with clarified, unsalted butter, topped with Vermont maple syrup and toasted almonds, and choice of bacon, sausage, or ham.

Other brunch specialties are corned beef hash (house-cured beef brisket, Idaho potato, Italian parsley, and cracked black pepper), served with a poached egg; baked croissant with French brie, Granny Smith apples, and honey mustard; fresh pineapple corn fritters, with Vermont maple syrup, choice of bacon, Pennsylvania linked sausage, or ham; and a variety of omelets, specialty pancakes and Belgian waffles.

The lunch menu is equally popular, featuring salads, sandwiches, and assorted chef’s specials. “Norman’s veggie and grain burger with creamy honey curry dressing, green salad, tomato dill dressing, multi-grain flatbread with melted cheddar is a real favorite,” says Ms. Todd. “By the way, we have 12 different salad dressings made from scratch.”

Salads and Sandwiches

Other popular choices are quiche with hand-rolled parmesan crust, roasted root vegetables or caramelized onion and bacon, Gruyere cheese and custard, green salad or fresh fruit; jumbo lump crab cakes with cole slaw, tartar sauce, and corn muffin. The Market Roost’s international theme is evidenced by its inclusion of spanakopita, with Greek style spinach and feta cheese enveloped in filo with Greek salad.

Salads include chicken breast; Caesar; seasoned warmed roasted vegetables over fresh mixed greens; organic grain (high protein grain with veggies, and hummus); Oriental spring rolls with mixed greens; and tapas platter (including Green salad), among others. Salads and sandwiches start at $7.95, and chef’s specials range from $9.50 to $14.50.

Pastries and baked goods have always been a strong part of the Market Roost’s business, and all baking is done from scratch, with the finest ingredients, emphasizes Ms. Todd. “Our baking is European-style. We baked croissants early in the 80s when the American public was just beginning to know what a croissant was. Muffins, scones, sticky buns, pies, quiches, cakes, tortes, wedding, and special occasion cakes are made with fresh fillings and European-style butter cream.

“We are food artists,” she adds. “We love what we do. A woman has been coming in twice a week to bake with me for the past 25 years. Baking is very labor-intensive. It can take eight hours to make a wedding cake.”

Popular baked choices include Granny Smith apple cake with sour cream, lemon pound cake, black velvet flourless chocolate cake, creme brulee Cheesecake, and carrot cake. Four kinds of biscotti, various brownies, cookies, and cupcakes are other tasty treats.

Pies are another big focus, and Ms. Todd is especially noted for her fruit pies. “There is more interest in fruit pies now, and I fill my pies with an abundance of fruit. Cherry is a real favorite.”

Coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and a variety of teas are also available.

Gift Selection

Ms. Todd adds that generally, people are interested in healthier diets today, and have moved away from some of the richer choices that were previously popular. “We have always emphasized farm to table. There is so much local produce here in the summer that we have always been able to offer the freshest products.”

In addition to the food, including cheeses, baked goods to go, gift baskets, handmade chocolates, and an eclectic home accessories gift selection are available. The shelves are filled with everything from pottery from Tuscany to candles and napkins to platters and teacups to a very popular jewelry selection.

Providing a pleasant, relaxed environment is important to the Todds. “Customers say they feel good when they come here,” notes Ms. Todd. “I always tell them to relax and take their time. We want them to take time to savor the taste!”

Among those who have done just that was the late Julia Child, who had a home in the area. “She enjoyed coming in to eat and spending time here” recalls Ms. Todd. “I like the interaction with the customers who come in to eat and also those who want catering service. We enjoy educating people about food, and I look forward to introducing even more customers to the Market Roost and seeing our business continue to grow.”

The Market Roost is open Wednesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9:30 to 5, Sunday 9:30 to 2 for brunch, and 2 to 3:30 for lunch. (908) 788-4949. Website: marketroost.com.

For catering service, Ms. Todd recommends six months to a year notice for weddings, and at least two weeks for other events.

 

April 15, 2014

Now that “the winter of our discontent” seems finally to have faded into memory, area residents look forward to getting outside.

Spring cleaning, gardening, and landscaping are all on the agenda, and in addition, this is often the time to target the patio, terrace, or deck. Outdoor living space is the focus of many homeowners, as they look ahead to spring, summer, and fall outside activities.

Bringing the inside out is popular with many people today — they are opting for outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and a variety of entertainment features on their patios. “Overhead structures have become extremely popular with our clients,” says Steven J. Doerler, owner and president of Doerler Landscapes Inc. in Yardville.

“Our clients are looking to extend the time period that they utilize their outdoor rooms so overhead structures, including roofs and pergolas. are very popular. Overhead structures provide a sense of enclosure and act like a ‘ceiling’ for an outdoor room. The structure then lends itself to the addition of ceiling fans, lights, and infra-red radiant heat. Kitchen stations, fire elements, water features, and seating walls are also popular features. Of course, with our digital society, many of our clients incorporate flat screen TVs, music, and mood lighting that can all be remote-controlled.”

Potential Patio

Greg Powers, owner of Re New Masonry Repair and Renovation in South Brunswick, also points out the popularity of outdoor living reflecting the home’s interior. “Patio designs have changed over the years. I see patios as an extension of the inside of the house. The layout is designed much like an area in the home. You can have a sitting area, similar to a living room, a designated kitchen area, a bar — anything you can imagine.

“Sometimes, a client has a hard time envisioning the size and space of a potential patio. I tell them to go inside the house and look at their living room or kitchen. Measure it, look at what’s inside, how many sofas, tables, chairs, etc.? This can be helpful when designing the patio to determine the size that would best suit the client’s needs.”

Mr. Powers adds that patio sitting walls are favorites with many people today. “They can turn a flat ordinary patio into a comfortable courtyard. Pillars with lights on them are are very popular as well as built-in barbecues.”

The addition of plants and flowers to the patio goes a long way in enhancing its appeal. Many options are available today, as Ronni Hock, owner of Ronni Hock Garden and Landscape in Lawrenceville, points out: “Patio containers are a wonderful idea to add that special touch and color to the patio. I always suggest using plants that grow well in tight spaces. Not all annuals perform well in containers over a longer period of time. Be sure to ask the experts at your garden center if they will last through the summer into the fall.

“Also, use plants that attract hummingbirds or butterflies, such as Salvias, Nicotiana, Lantana, Phygelius, and Verbena, to mention a few. I recommend starting with a large container (18 inches or larger) to be sure the root system of the plants has plenty of space to mature over the summer.

“Using small flowering trees is another favorite of mine. Hydrangeas work well, and smaller Crape Myrtles, evergreens, or a tropical plant called Brugmansia, which will grow into an eight-foot tree in one season, are all good.”

Good Soaking

In addition, continues Ms. Hock, “Use a good mix of potting soil and fertilizers to be sure the plants have all the nutrients they need. Larger containers need less watering. Just give them a really good soaking once or twice a week — especially when the extreme heat kicks in.”

Ms. Hock designs patios of all shapes and sizes, often using natural stone or pavers. As she notes, “Many of my clients in the Greater Princeton area prefer bluestone or a Pennsylvania fieldstone to achieve the historic ‘look and feel’ indigenous to our region. Some people want extensive landscaping or gardens surrounding these outdoor living spaces, which I am delighted to create. Others want a more simple, elegant approach to decorating their patio.”

Steven Doerler reports that many excellent materials are available for patios and terraces today. “The materials that we recommend are often related to the architecture and time period in which a house was built. For older or more traditional homes, we try to incorporate brick, bluestone, or other natural stone products. Newer homes lend themselves to traditional products as well as some of the newer paver products. As a design-focused firm, we concentrate on the utilization and form of the terrace or outdoor room, which will help determine the size and shape of the space.”

Greg Powers notes that the most popular materials with his customers are concrete pavers, clay pavers, and natural stone. “Concrete pavers come in all shapes and sizes, and many colors. They also require more maintenance than clay pavers or natural stone. Clay pavers look like the classic brick that are on many homes. Often they are orange/reddish in color with different variations. They will last decades.

“Natural stone is the most durable of all material and comes in a variety of colors and textures,” he continues. “The one thing that can preserve all of these materials is waterproofing. The freeze/thaw cycle is the culprit in many renovations I do, whether it be steps, retaining walls, or patios and walkways. Not allowing your brick or stone to absorb water will greatly increase its longevity and beauty.”

Both Mr. Doerler and Mr. Powers incorporate 3-D imaging to help customers visualize the finished patio. “Our firm encourages a collaboration approach with our clients, and one of the tools that we utilize to communicate our ideas is 3-D imaging,” points out Mr. Doerler.

“On the Spot”

“It allows us to work with our clients on a myriad of conceptual ideas, which helps us to refine the project scope and budget. With 3-D imaging, we can make revisions ‘on the spot’ relative to materials, so that our clients can fully envision what the finished project will look like.”

“It takes a lot of the guess work out, and customers can get a better feel of what to expect when their patio is complete,” adds Mr. Powers. “I provide a complimentary 3-D design for all customers who are interested in building a patio. Most of the time, it is hard to envision the finished patio from a sketch or from ideas in a book or catalog.

“However, I always maintain a lot of flexibility during the building process because as the patio starts to take shape and all the colors, textures, and dimensions come together, this is when the customers can realistically get a clear picture of their patio. A collaboration is the most gratifying approach to designing and building a patio for the customer and for me. I love feedback. Two creative minds are better than one!”

All sizes and shapes of patios are part of the professional services of Mr. Powers and Mr. Doerler. As the latter notes, “We custom design outdoor space of all shapes and sizes. Recent projects have included removing an old deck and replacing it with a raised terrace. In our case, we are a design/build landscape architectural firm. In our 51st year, we feel that by building the projects we design, we have a great deal of experience with a full range of surface products, their costs and limitations. Being involved in the project from the beginning to the end is very fulfilling when we see the finished project and watch the plan come to life.”

Dream Spaces

“I design everything that I build,” adds Mr. Powers. “It’s a wonderful form of expression. I like to think of myself as an artist first, with good masonry and construction skills to make what I design and build last. I offer a lifetime warranty on all my masonry. I am that confident that if you do it right the first time, there is no reason that the patio can’t look just as beautiful decades from now.”

Costs vary considerably depending on the size and scope of the job and the materials chosen. “Project budgets can range from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars,” points out Mr. Doerler. “One thing that is important to note is that many outdoor spaces can be constructed in phases so we encourage clients to communicate their dream spaces to us and then allow our firm to help guide them to design and implement their dream, whether it is all at once or over time. The more important component is to have a plan. There is the old adage: failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Mr. Powers agrees. “I have done small, intimate sitting patios to large, several thousand square foot brick paver driveways and multi-level patios. Cost is dictated by patio size, elevation, type of materials used and what types of features the client wants, such as outdoor kitchen, walls, pillars, sitting walls, etc.”

Whether it’s a small fix-up or a total redesign and anything in between, with the help of these professionals, you will be able to enjoy your patio for many seasons to come. Your outdoor living space can be transformed into a visual pleasure, integrating the natural beauty of the surroundings. It will be the “go-to” place for you, your family, and friends.

—Jean Stratton

 

Recycling and repurposing have become the watch words for many in our community today. These environmentally-friendly practices have been adopted by increasing numbers of people who are looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint, lessen the impact on over-burdened landfills, and tend their gardens without chemicals and  pesticides.

One of the most important and popular repurposing projects today is composting. Whether one chooses to create an individual compost project in the back yard or to participate in the Princeton Curbside Organic Program, the opportunities for composting are on the rise.

Started in the Princeton Township Public Works Department (PWD) in June 2011 as a 3-month pilot program for curbside organic waste collection, the Princeton Curbside Organic Program is here to stay. 900 households have already joined in, and the numbers rise daily, notes Janet Pellichero, CPR, recycling coordinator, Department of Public Works, who oversees the program. In 2013, participants kept nearly 325 tons of organic waste from reaching the Pennsylvania landfill used by Princeton. In addition, the program has won an award for innovation from Sustainable Jersey.

“There are many benefits to composting,” notes Ms. Pellichero. “Composting diverts materials away from landfills, which are an expensive and unsustainable method for our waste disposal. Buried waste in a landfill creates methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to global warming. Waste in a landfill can sit there creating the gas for hundreds of years.

Nutrient-Rich

“Huge amounts of organic waste and a special GoreTex cover are incorporated so the compost piles get very hot,” continues Ms. Pellichero. “This means that compost can be made using items that can’t be easily composted in a back yard, such as meat and bones, fish skins, pizza boxes, waxed paper, pits, and yard waste, including sticks and branches. Organics become compost in just 80 days after you put them out for weekly collection. The organic waste is turned into a nutrient-rich and beneficial soil amendment. Our compost is a beautiful material, fine, dark, and full of wonderful nutrients.”

Paticipants in the program receive a 32-gallon wheeled cart with attached lid, a kitchen container, and free compost every spring. The collection fee is $65 per year, and residents can join anytime throughout the year.

This program is separate from the Mercer County recycling program for glass, paper, cardboard, and aluminum, adds Ms. Pellichero, and people would continue to take part in that program.

“Our organic program is a wonderful complement to the County program,” says Ms. Pellichero. “Organic material makes up approximately 20 percent of our solid waste. Removing it from the solid waste and turning it into compost helps increase recycling rates here in Princeton and in Mercer County.

Eye-Opening

“Our program is very eye-opening,” she adds. “I have spoken to many individuals, organizations, commercial institutions, and municipalities in New Jersey and surrounding states. Even the EPA has contacted us about our program. All are interested in doing similar programs, and realize this truly is the ‘low hanging fruit’ that can easily be captured and diverted from landfills. Over time, municipal solid waste disposal costs will decrease, recyling rates could increase, and valuable landfill space will be created. It really is a win-win program! It benefits our soil and air, our own back yards, and the environment as a whole.”

In addition, Ms. Pellichero encourages residents to continue their own back yard compost projects as well. “Composting is a natural process that turns organic material into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Gardens with healthy levels of compost need less water and fertilizer to give just as much growth as a garden without compost. Our Public Works Department has distributed Earth Machines to our residents over the years. We encourage any method our residents utilize to compost.”

Many homeowners enjoy composting in their back yard. Leaves, fruit and vegetable cuttings, coffee grounds, and tea bags can all be used to create back yard compost. If leaves are used, it is best to shred them, since they break down more easily than whole leaves. Also, mix them with manure (four parts leaves to one part manure). Manure contains nitrogen, which helps the compost to break up and decompose.

Sustainable Princeton is a big supporter of composting, both individually and of the Princeton Curbside Organic Program. “In 2012, Sustainable Princeton applied for and was awarded a $20,000 grant from Sustainable New Jersey to support Janet Pellichero and the PWD in increasing the number of sign-ups for the Curbside Organics Program,” notes Diane Landis, Sustainable Princeton Executive Director.

“Build a Bin”

“Sustainable Princeton also has a back yard compost program called ‘Build a Bin’. There is a design for a back yard compost bin on our website that can be made out of palettes for very little money. One of our board members is a LEED Accredited Architect, and she created the design which has been used to build bins all over town. First by Sustainable Princeton volunteers and staff, and then by Anthony Teng, a high school senior who built bins at the public schools, Princeton University, and homes for his Eagle Scout project. He was awarded his Eagle Scout badge last fall, and received the Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award this February.”

An enthusiastic advocate of composting herself, Ms. Landis has her own back yard composting project. “I would not used cooked foods or meats in a back yard compost bin for fear of rodents. So, if you keep it to veggie and fruit cuttings, coffee grounds, tea bags, and mix it with leaves, the pile will heat right up and turn into black gold! You do want a mixture of brown (carbon-rich) and green (nitrogen-rich). The list of what to put in can be found on our ‘Build a Bin’ website.

“Also,” continues Ms. Landis, “you want to turn the pile of materials two to three times in the spring and fall. Keep it moist but not wet, or it will get slimy. In my case, I have a rolling compost bin. It looks like a side-ways barrel with an opening that locks shut for food scraps, and has aerated openings to help the food compost. I can easily spin it, and it creates lovely compost, but it’s not enough for my whole garden, which is why I love the curbside organic compost we get by being in the program. I love the dark rich soil that comes from the program, and I grow my kale, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, and peas and flowers in it.”

She echoes Ms. Pellichero’s point that the landfills will soon reach the cut-off point, adding, “Our ground water also gets contaminated, and why not create something usable from what we consider waste? As former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, ‘Organic waste composting is the final frontier of recycling.’”

For further information on Princeton’s Curbside Organic Program, call (609) 688-2566 or consult the website: www.princetonnj.gov/organic/CurbsideOrganics.html.

Information regarding Sustainable Princeton’s “Build a Bin” program is available at www.sustainableprinceton.org.

In addition, Smith’s Ace Hardware in the Princeton Shopping Center offers a variety of composting devices and containers in assorted sizes for do-it-yourselfers. The store also sells bags for the Princeton Curbside Organic Program and compost from that program.

—Jean Stratton

 
April 2, 2014
GOOD SPORTS: “We are teaching kids from kindergarten through eighth grade how to compete with good sportsmanship — and at the same time to have fun. We also pride ourselves on safety. We check each kid in and check the child out to see that they are met by a parent or designated adult.” Johnny Rooney is director of Hit ‘n’ Run Sports Academy and Fal-Rooney Olympic Camp.

GOOD SPORTS: “We are teaching kids from kindergarten through eighth grade how to compete with good sportsmanship — and at the same time to have fun. We also pride ourselves on safety. We check each kid in and check the child out to see that they are met by a parent or designated adult.” Johnny Rooney is director of Hit ‘n’ Run Sports Academy and Fal-Rooney Olympic Camp.

A co-ed day camp experience is available year-round from Johnny Rooney’s Sports Camp Academies. A safe, structured environment gives children the opportunity to enhance their athletic skill and compete while having fun and making new friends.

Choices include the Fal-Rooney Olympic Camp, weekly XFL camp, and JR’s Hit ‘n’ Run Academy. Fal-Rooney Olympic Camp programs are held at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on Skillman Road in Montgomery Township. The Hit ‘n’ Run Baseball camp will be in action this summer at the Montgomery Baseball Complex in Skillman.

A graduate of Montgomery High School (with a post graduate year at The Hun School) and C.W. Post College with a degree in elementary education, Mr. Rooney has been a teacher and coach for 17 years. He currently teaches physical education to pre-K through second graders (including handicapped students) at Orchard Hill Elementary School in Montgomery Township. He also trains a number of Robbinsville LL softball teams, coaches the Jersey Outlaws, a 14 U travel team, and helps recruit future college softball players for the Mercer County Community College softball program.

Mr. Rooney’s first camp, Hit ‘n’ Run Baseball, began in 1998, and Fal-Rooney, with co-director Mike Falco, was opened in 2006.

Biggest Benefits

“Our camps’ biggest benefits for the kids are building confidence, making friends, and promoting good sportsmanship,” explains Mr. Rooney. “They have a chance to play, learn, compete, make new friends, and have a great time. And each of our Academy coaches consistently emphasizes the importance of teamwork.”

At the Fal-Rooney Olympic Camp, kids participate in many sports and activities, including kickball, basketball, dodge ball, ping pong, soccer, and dance, among others. They compete as members of a team, which includes all ages playing together. As Mr. Rooney explains, “When they first come in, the kids just play, and then we pick the teams. They are thoroughly balanced, with first and second graders and sixth, seventh, and eighth graders all on the same team. They meet new faces and form new friendships, and the younger kids look up to the older ones as leaders.

“Kids are exposed to a lot more today in so many areas,” continues Mr. Rooney. “We like them to be able to participate in the good old games that are fun. Even with all the high tech and the digital society, kids are still kids. This is a chance for them to be active and have fun. We work very hard to stay creative, and it’s great to see how excited the kids are and how they look forward to coming. The day ends with the entire camp dancing together. We also provide water and healthy snacks for them.”

The average number of kids in the program is 60, he adds, with 14 to 20 staff members. “A lot of the coaches, whom we call role models, are my former students and athletes,” he adds.

Playing Fair

Because of the strong emphasis on good sportsmanship, campers learn early that bullying is not tolerated. “The kids come up with great slogans,” points out Mr. Rooney. For example: “If you care, you’re playing fair!” “If you had fun, you won!” and “At Fal-Rooney, we don’t bully, we buddy!”

In addition to the camps, Fal-Rooney has introduced birthday parties, offering a variety of sports and games. Parties are an hour and a half, and have become very popular.

Fal-Rooney Olympic Camp currently meets once a week on Wednesday at the gym in the Otto Kaufman Community Center for an hour and a half. Its program is extended in the summer, with camps during the weeks of June 24, July 7, July 14, and August 11, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pre-camp care starts at 8 a.m., and post-camp care is available until 5 p.m. This program is for boys and girls entering grades first through eighth.

Hit ‘n’ Run Baseball camp will be held at the Montgomery Baseball Complex in Skillman the week of July 28-31. Also co-ed, the camp is for kids entering first grade through ninth grade. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration for summer camp is available March 1st.

“We are set apart because we have a different dynamic,” notes Mr. Rooney. “We’re not focused on just one thing. We offer a real variety. I always look forward to getting together with the staff for planning, and then seeing the kids come for the first time. There are lots of new faces, but also many repeats. We have lots of siblings, too, and I see  many kids grow up over the years. I love kids. I really enjoy seeing them laugh and have fun.”

For further information, call (908) 672-9398 or consult the website: www.falrooney.com.

 

March 12, 2014
FINANCIAL FINESSE: “The advice I would give to everyone is to come to a qualified professional with experience and a good reputation. We distinguish ourselves from other CPA firms by offering personalized one-on-one service.” Thomas McNulty, CPA, looks forward to helping clients with their financial needs.

FINANCIAL FINESSE: “The advice I would give to everyone is to come to a qualified professional with experience and a good reputation. We distinguish ourselves from other CPA firms by offering personalized one-on-one service.” Thomas McNulty, CPA, looks forward to helping clients with their financial needs.

No one wants to think about it, but it’s on the way! Even in the midst of winter, we are one day closer to April 15 — the day procrastinators love to ignore.

Nevertheless, it’s getting closer, and if the thought makes you nervous, help is at hand. Thomas McNulty CPA, LLC is a certified public accountant with a master’s degree in taxation. He has practiced for 17 years, and currently has offices at 20 Nassau Street.

“Originally, I was in marketing, but then I realized I wanted to make a change,” says Mr. McNulty. “I had always done well in accounting, and liked the process of keeping track of debits and credits. I became a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and then went to graduate school and got a master’s degree in taxation at the University of Philadelphia. Now, I specialize in small business accounting, helping to relieve clients of the financial headaches of their daily business. This includes bookkeeping, business strategies and planning, business structure, and taxes.”

Mr. McNulty’s clients include a variety of small businesses and individuals as well as those for whom he provides tax help.

Profit and Loss

“I work on a regular basis with my target market, preparing a monthly financial statement to include profit and loss, balance sheet, and a general ledger. If a company needs to get a loan, banks want to see that statements have been checked by a licensed CPA, and that the certified financial statements adhere to the generally accepted accounting principles.

“In addition, I do taxes for 400 individuals and 30 different organizations and companies in the Princeton area and beyond.”

Mr. McNulty has many clients of long-standing, and often if they have moved to a new location, such as California or even overseas, they still retain his services. “My clients are really a mix of people — all ages and backgrounds. They include Princeton University students and foreign students, as well as older people. I help them and plan strategies for them. All my clients are valuable to me, whatever their income level and financial situation. I treat everyone the same.

“When it comes to accounting, most people, even when they’re very smart, are off the grid. I help them to get back on the grid, and try to make sure they don’t veer off. I assist them with budgeting, financial analyzing, and I also partner with the best local financial companies to set up a financial plan and investment strategy appropriate to my clients’  goals. I also help with start up business planning.”

Mr. McNulty also points out that continuing education is part of his job focus, and this includes 40 hours a year. Business rules and regulations can change, as well as the tax code.

“I look forward to the tax season,” he says. “It’s important to help people through it. I try to help them save on their income tax legally. Also, I find that a big factor in the business is with people who have gone to companies such as H & R Block, whose employees are really part-timers. Their customers often ultimately pay more in additional fees or in correcting mistakes. I get clients who have done this, and I need to fix their returns. There are also people who try to do it on their own, and it gets too complicated, and then, they come to me. According to a study done by the U.S. government, 77 percent of all tax payers believe that they benefitted by using the services of a professional tax preparer.”

Solid Foundation

Mr. McNulty is especially busy from February right up to tax time in April. “The real challenge is that I’m hit with an enormous amount of work in a very short time, but I welcome the opportunity to help people. Overall, I really enjoy helping clients succeed in life and to reach the goals they want to achieve. I lay out the framework and a solid foundation for them to get there.”

He looks forward to becoming part of the Princeton community and building his practice further. “I want to be like the the family physician of old whom you could always count on to be there for you. I believe I am set apart by my background and education, experience, and the continuing education I participate in. And also, the fact that I work with the best local professionals in the U.S. is a plus.

“I look forward to growing the business, helping more clients, and keeping the impeccable reputation I have established. Helping clients to keep their finances in order, and put systems in place in which they can grow their own business and lead to further job creation is my priority.

“Also, we realize that money is tight in these tough economic times. To accommodate our customers and make our services more affordable, we may be able to provide you with several different payment options and a plan that suits your budget.”

Mr. McNulty is available by appointment Monday through Friday (seven days during tax time). (609) 497-1040. Website: www.mcnultycpa.com.

 

March 5, 2014
LOOKING GOOD: “We are an exclusive Redken salon, and our stylists have been trained by the leading industry professionals in Redken color and cutting techniques. We emphasize continuing education to all of our employees.” Bernadette Reed, owner, manager, and sthylist at Sofia Lido Salon and Blow Out Bar, is enthusiastic about her new hair salon.

LOOKING GOOD: “We are an exclusive Redken salon, and our stylists have been trained by the leading industry professionals in Redken color and cutting techniques. We emphasize continuing education to all of our employees.” Bernadette Reed, owner, manager, and sthylist at Sofia Lido Salon and Blow Out Bar, is enthusiastic about her new hair salon.

A  new look for a new year is available at Sofia Lido Salon and Blow Out Bar.

Everything from trimmed bangs to blow dry to highlights to tint backs to formal up-dos to CHI relaxers, as well as waxing treatments is offered at this brand new salon.

Located in the Shoppes at Pennington, 21 Route 31 North, it is owned by stylist Bernadette Reed, and opened in January.

“I am so encouraged,” says Ms. Reed. “I have really been surprised by how quickly customers have found us. I already have a growing clientele. Also, this is an excellent location. I looked for a place for quite a while. This is great. It is new, and very well
maintained. There is also a lot of foot traffic here.”

The arrival of Sofia Lido on the hair salon scene has a unique history. Ms. Reed’s previous career could not have been more different. After graduating from college, she worked as an institutional equity sales trader on Wall Street, and was a survivor of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

New Perspective

“This changed my outlook, and gave me a new perspective,” she explains. “I wanted to do something else. I had always enjoyed getting my hair done, and was interested in hair stying. I have difficult hair. It’s very curly and frizzy. So, I decided to enroll in Concord Cosmetology School in Ocean Township. I thought I’d give it a try and see if I liked it.”

After the 10-month course, Ms. Reed received a license from the state board of cosmetology, and worked for several years at a salon in Marlboro. “That was a very good experience,” she recalls, “and I got a lot of continuing education in cutting and color.”

She is now a Redken-trained colorist and stylist, and has completed advanced training in Matrix, Colorly, Goldwell, and Socolor color systems. She is also certified in the John Sahag dry cutting method, and has had extensive training and experience in the CHI Japanese straightening and Keratin straightening systems. She is enthusiastic about having her own salon and the opportunity to share her expertise with customers.

“There are so many aspects to this work,” she notes. “I think the salon is set apart by my training and my love for what I do. I really enjoy the blow out. It’s very creative. You can create so many looks, and that is why I decided to have the Blow Out Bar, offering a variety of different blow out opportunities.”

Fashion Statement

In any salon today, of course, it’s all about color. Coloring hair is seemingly for everyone — almost all ages, and men as well as women. Although it is still often to cover gray, its use has gone far beyond that. In many cases, it has beome a fashion statement.

“Color is very big,” says Ms. Reed. “People are using hair color at younger and younger ages. Some people actually change color with the seasons. Spring and summmer tend to be lighter with highlights. Winter can be darker with lowlights. The ombre look is still seen for longer hair, but it’s not quite as popular as it once was.

“We offer both ammonia-free and low ammonia color choices. I like to use foils for highlights. I like the end results. Also, color products have a lot of conditioners today.”

She adds that when considering hair color changes, it is important to take into account the client’s natural hair color and skin tone. “People tend to go lighter as they get older because their skin tone changes. And most clients are trying to achieve a natural look. Another thing, some people are also opting for Tint Back — a return to a darker color, either with a complete change or by removing highlights.”

Regarding styles and cuts, choices are very varied and individualized, reports Ms. Reed. “We are seeing a lot of long to short — you see this with some celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway. There are many techniques for cutting. But, of course, long hair is never out of style. Generally, people with curly hair want to have it straightened. We offer straightening techniques, including CHI Japanese straightening and keratin straightening, with no formaldehyde.”

Easy maintenance is always desirable, but Ms. Reed points out there is no such thing as no maintenance. Most people at least blow dry their hair at a minimum. “The point is we help to educate our clients about caring for their hair, showing them the correct way to blow-dry. etc.”

Special Savings

In addition to hair service, Sofia Lido offers a variety of waxing treatments, including eye brow, lip, chin, neck, ears, and sideburns, beginning at $5.

Women’s hair cuts are $60, wash and blow-dry $35, blow dry only (arrive with hair washed and wet) $25, and a variety of other blow dry packages is offered. Children’s cuts (10 and under) are $25, and men’s $30. Single process color is $60, highlights $85. Special savings packages are available, and a 10 percent discount is offered for clients 65 and older.

In addition, the salon offers baby sitting opportunities. As Ms. Reed explains, “We work directly and exclusively with The Village Leaning Center in Pennington. They offer our clients a discounted hourly rate of $12. The Village Learning Center is a half mile away from the salon.”

Not only is Ms. Reed delighted with the successful opening weeks of the salon, the clients are equally pleased. As one new customer, who had come in by chance, noted: “I am very happy. I love the way my hair looks, and I am impressed with the care and attention to detail that Bernadette provided. I will definitely come back!”

Ms. Reed looks forward to introducing many more clients to Sofia Lido and offering them high quality service. (609) 737-7770. Website: www.sofialido.com.

Jane Brady, Owner/Audiologist

Jane Brady, Owner/Audiologist

“I  love working with people and helping them to hear better. The technology has changed incredibly, and there are so many hearing enhancement device choices and styles today. These can help individuals to hear better, thus helping with relationships, helping them at home, and at work.”

Dr. Jane Brady AuD, owner of Horizon Audiology, wants people to be aware of the many opportunities available to help them correct hearing loss.

Although wearing glasses is commonplace for the millions of people with vision impairment, and few resist wearing glasses, many people hesitate to obtain a hearing aid. Whether it is associated with the aging process or they are reminded of their grandfather’s bulky and often malfunctioning device, there is a decided reluctance for many even to investigate the possibility of a hearing aid.

The fact is, however, that hearing loss is occurring at younger ages than in the past and for various reasons, points out Dr. Brady. “We are definitely seeing more hearing loss at younger ages. Even with teens, there can be early signs. The very loud music young people listen to has been a factor. Hearing loss can also be a result of illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, and childhood illnesses. I have patients from newborns to geriatric, and my typical patient is a Baby Boomer in his or her 50s or 60s.”

Distinct Differences

Dr. Brady, who has a doctorate in audiology, has been practicing for 21 years. She opened her own practice at Horizon Audiology at the Medical Arts Building on the Princeton-Hightstown Road (Route 571) in East Windsor in 2007.

Prior to opening her own practice, she had worked in Princeton with physicians, and she is aware of the medical issues that may be a factor in hearing loss. She sees patients of various ages from all over the Princeton area, and Dr. Brady has noticed distinct differences both in her patients’ motivations and expectations.

“It is important to know how the different generations are wired and what they expect. Baby Boomers have a mindset of wanting things to be fixed — whether it is a shoulder or knee problem from sports, or hearing loss. Also, you can’t assume about someone’s life-style because of their age. Ask them questions. People of all ages are living very diverse life-styles. Ask what they do and what their weekends are like. Do they travel? Attend lectures? Concerts? A person may be a teacher or business executive; their situation and environment can vary and be a factor in their level of hearing frustration.”

Noisy environments obviously create more stress than if one works in a library, for example.

Best Style

When a person decides to consult an audiologist, either as a referral from a physician or as a result of their own decision, the hearing professional will test and evaluate their hearing and then discuss the results.

Even if someone has decreased hearing, they may not yet need a hearing aid. If the hearing loss is significant, however, a device may be indicated. Dr. Brady works with them to determine the best style for their needs.

“Certain types of devices are better for certain people,” she explains. “The fit of the ear, if there are medical conditions, their sensitivity to the device are all factors. Dexterity can be another issue. Someone might have vision problems or arthritis and have difficulty operating the device. It also depends on their level of frustration and what their preconceived notions may be. Some people don’t want any fuss. The New Lyric device is inserted into the ear by the audiologist and stays there, and then is replaced when necessary. The client never has to think about it.

“The audiologist chooses the minimum level of technology that will help the person hear better.”

Hearing aids vary in cost, anywhere from $900 to $2000, depending on the level of technology.

Continuing Education

Dr. Brady, who is board certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, is very involved with continuing education, attending classes and seminars to keep up with the latest advances and trends in the industry.

“The technology changes so rapidly, with state-of-the art advances coming along all the time. Now there is a tiny computer to adjust the sound level of a hearing aid. In the beginning of my practice, I used to do that with a mini screw driver! I even see a time when we can do adjustments over the phone — tele-audiology.

“It is an amazing time, and our level of service keeps up with all the new developments. Helping our patients is always uppermost for me and my staff. There are three audiologists and our office management staff, who are all so knowledgeable and dedicated to serving the patient.”

In addition, Dr. Brady provides services for the community, including free screenings at health fairs, and volunteering at “Ask the Doctor” programs at senior centers.

“It is important for patients to realize that if they are having a problem with hearing loss, we are here to help them. They can call an audiologist on their own without a doctor’s referral.”

Horizon Audiology offers a full range of quality hearing aids from many manufacturers. It is open Monday through Friday 8:30 am. to 4 p.m., and every other Saturday.

Call (609) 448-9730 or visit them online at www.horizonaudiology.com

January 15, 2014

“Italian food is comfort food. It tastes good. I could eat it seven days a week!”

Ben Sanford, manager and co-owner with chef Joe Egitto, of Cugino’s Italian Specialties in Pennington, loves what he does. “I just like the idea of food. I’ve been in the food industry for 14 years, and we are very enthusiastic about Cugino’s.”

The Italian Specialty shop, located at 2566 Pennington Road (near the Pennington Circle), has become a popular gathering place for customers from all over the area. Its wonderful displays of tempting Italian specialties and gourmet items are an irresistible combination, and many diners come more than once a week.

Cugino translates to “cousin” in Italian, an appropriate name for the establishment whose owners are indeed cousins. They grew up enjoying Italian dinners at the Egitto family home in Staten Island, and the idea of having their own restaurant took hold early on. “I always liked cooking,” explains Mr. Egitto. “My mom and dad were both good cooks, and I paid attention. I really always hoped to have my own restaurant.”

Italian Market Place

When the opportunity to open Cugino’s came along, he and Mr. Sanford did not hesitate, and it was a very hands-on family effort. They designed and built most of the interior themselves, laying the wood floor and spackling the walls to look like an old Italian market place. The rustic wooden tables holding the imported gourmet items were built by Mr. Sanford’s father, and Mr. Sanford and Mr. Egitto installed the tile in the L-shaped countertop.

“This is such a great location, and we wanted it to have an old-school neighborhood shop feeling. The atmosphere is definitely reminiscent of Italy.”

Cugino’s is primarily a take-out establishment, but seating for about 10 is available at a counter and a nearby table.

Then, there is the food! “We use the freshest ingredients, and we try to get local products whenever they are available,” point out the owners, who also recently opened Cafe 72, an American-style restaurant in West Trenton.

“At Cugino’s, all our retail items are from Italy or New York. Everything is very high quality, and it is extremely important to maintain the quality of the products. Consistency is a high priority.”

Cugino’s is home to all sorts of fresh options and indulgences. The menu offers a variety of panini sandwiches, pasta bowls, personal pizzas, and numerous fresh salads.

Many Favorites

“Eggplant parmesan is very popular, and our antipasto platters, and paninis are stand-outs for us,” reports Mr. Sanford. Among the many panini choices, some favorites include the Italian Combo with capocollo, Genoa salami, sopressata, mortadella, prosciutto, provolone, romaine, tomato, and Italian dressing; the Bruschetta chicken with grilled chicken, bruschetta, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella; and the eggplant parmesan, including breaded eggplant, marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella.

The variety of individual 10-inch pizzas offers many favorites. The San Genaro includes Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions, pomodoro, and fresh mozzarella; the “Grandma” offers pomodore, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, and garlic. There are also vodka, white, meatball, and vegetable pizzas, among others.

Grilled chicken and chicken and tuna salad can be added to the many salads available. Especially popular is fig salad with mixed greens, prosciutto, and sun-dried figs. Also favored are antipasto with mixed greens, Italian meats and cheeses, olives, and roasted red peppers; grilled chicken Caesar with romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan reggiano, homemade croutons, and roasted chicken. Cugino’s house salad features arugula, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and roasted peppers.

Other popular dishes include stuffed portabellos, manicotti, chicken rollatini, lasagne Bolognese, Chef Eggito’s father’s homemade meat balls, and prosciutto-wrapped artichokes.

There are also very popular daily specials, including, Monday: Italian meatloaf; Tuesday: roast pork panini; Wednesday: shrimp chef selection; Thursday: veal chef selection; Friday: fresh fish selection.

Assorted pastas, sauces, a variety of Italian cheeses, 15 different kinds of olives, and Italian-style breads (arriving daily from New York) are also favorite take-home or sit-down choices. And, coffee, cappuccino, latte, and espresso are all on the menu. “We have a local coffee bean roaster,” points out Mr. Egitto.

Ahead of the Event

“Catering has become a big part of the business,” adds Mr. Sanford. “We do all sizes of parties and events, and we get very busy for the holidays, especially with lots of Christmas Eve dinners, and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day. It is best to order catering three or four days ahead of the event.”

Catering specials include panini trays, antipasto platters, pizza platters, and fruit and cheese trays, among others.

Tiramisu, Italian cookies (including Mostacciola specialty cookies), biscotti, assorted Panettone for the holidays, pizelle waffle cookies, specialty Perugina chocolate, and Torone nougat candy appeal to customers with a sweet tooth. The selection of Italian gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars, honeys, jams, and gift baskets all provide wonderful hostess or holiday gifts.

Food prices are typically $7 to $12 for sandwiches, salads, and pizzas.

“We want to remain a simple place, not at all pretentious,” says Mr. Sanford. “This is our creation, and we choose everything very carefully. We are definitely hands-on owners.”

Adds Mr. Egitto: “Cugino’s is very special for us. I love cooking and also being out with the customers. They appreciate our years of experience and what we are trying to accomplish.”

Cugino’s is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 to 5. (609) 730-4100. Website: www.cuginospennington.com.

 

January 8, 2014
EATING RIGHT: “This is a totally different approach to integrating nutrition, de-stressing, and attitudes toward food,” explains Veronique Cardon, MS, director and facilitator of The CogniDiet program. “It is cognition, de-stressing, healthy nutrition, and exercise. People will feel so much better.”

EATING RIGHT: “This is a totally different approach to integrating nutrition, de-stressing, and attitudes toward food,” explains Veronique Cardon, MS, director and facilitator of The CogniDiet program. “It is cognition, de-stressing, healthy nutrition, and exercise. People will feel so much better.”

“I  have been on a diet so many times, but the weight always comes back.”

“I know all about calorie counting, fat content, portion control, so why am I still not losing weight?”

“I have spent so much money and so much time struggling on diets, but nothing has changed.”

“I am so tired of yo-yo dieting. I want to change my life-style.”

If these comments sound familiar, it may be time to consult Veronique Cardon, MS about The CogniDiet(TM) program. Not a quick fix, this program is not about calorie counting and getting on the scale. It is about changing one’s attitude toward food and approach to eating. It is a life-style change.

“People need to eat less and move more,” says holistic nutritionist Ms. Cardon, who is the creator and facilitator of The CogniDiet(TM) program.

Extensive Knowledge

With a Masters of Holistic Nutrition from the Clayton College of Natural Health and a commercial engineering degree from the University of Belgium (Brussels), Ms. Cardon worked as a nutritionist at the Princeton Integrative Health Center for four years.

Previously, she had worked as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry in New York, and gained extensive knowledge about neurology, brain chemistry, depression, obesity, diabetes, and addictions, including smoking.

In addition, Ms. Cardon had struggled with over-eating and the stress accompanying a demanding career for many years, finally stabilizing herself by following a healthy diet, exercise, and controlling stress levels.

Because of this background, she decided to share her own experiences with others and try to help them establish a healthier life-style and attitude toward food.

Her program is based in part on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. “This is a science that helps people change the way they think and therefore behave. It focuses on helping people deal with anxiety, depression, and weight loss” she explains. “I studied this, and I thought if I could educate people about nutrition, cognitherapy could be adapted to focus on weight loss and alleviating stress.”

Ms. Cardon believes that we are in the midst of a “perfect storm” today. “Some of the weight problems have to do with the commercialization of food in the U.S. and the prevalence of processed food. The brain gets accustomed to this. It’s a perfect storm: the super-sizing and processing of food, and lack of activity.”

Every Five Minutes

The ongoing stress level in our high tech society today is another factor, she adds. “Long ago, stress levels rose when there was imminent danger. Stress rose when someone confronted a lion, for example, but then once the risk was over, the stress diminished. Today, people see the lion every five minutes!”

Whether it is job-related, being stuck in traffic, always being rushed — whatever the situation, people frequently find themselves anxious and stressed. And, as Ms. Cardon notes, when it’s under stress, the body craves carbs.

So, why do people eat when they are not really hungry?

You had a bad day: the boss didn’t appreciate your efforts; the kids were impossible; your boy friend found another! Maybe a little ice cream for comfort? Some potato chips? Whatever your favorite snacks to help you through the bad times and take the edge off.

These are all reasons why people eat when they are not really hungry — out of disappointment and unhappiness, also boredom and addiction. In addition, if you are in a hurry, you can pick up something on the run that more often than not is full of calories and is the least healthy choice.

Ms. Cardon wants to change this scenario. “So many people eat much more than they actually need, and the brain begins to expect it. The advertising today is all geared to getting people to want food, especially snacks. Snacks are definitely a culprit.”

Over Time

“We help the client change her attitude toward food and realize that ‘my current eating habits are not good for me.’ At CogniDiet, we think of losing weight over time, not a quick fix. I encourage the clients to have a goal. What are the benefits to them of losing weight? They learn to be more centered on what is good for them generally.

“Some people are involved in too many activities, for example. What is crucial? What is important, and also, what activities and projects can they say no to? This is a way of relieving stress. Every time you do something, the brain registers and remembers it. We need to rewire the brain.”

This requires determination and dedication and a 12-week program, points out Ms. Cardon. “It’s a step-by-step program to retrain the brain, and we go slowly. During this time, I can guarantee that clients will become more attuned to their body and hunger level. They will keep a record of what activities they are involved in, what they do, and when they feel tempted to eat, even if they are not really hungry.”

It takes 12 weeks to learn new skills, she explains. Weeks one to six will focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Emotional Brain Training. There are no diet or eating guidelines during the first six weeks. We will gradually introduce some healthy nutrition tips and activity level recommendations.

“Weeks seven to 12 will help you to solidify your brain skills and teach you more about healthy nutrition and active life-styles. We will equip you with the tools to maintain weight over the long term.”

Ms. Cardon offers both one-on-one and group (six to eight) sessions. Initially, she has an interview with the client to identify goals and establish a specific plan. Once a week sessions — one hour for individuals, two hours for groups — are available.

Strong Guide

“In the group, they learn from the other people, and they also share their own experiences,” she notes. “My clients are all women, generally 40 and up, and they have tried everything,” says Ms. Cardon. “One client said to me, ‘I’ve tried many times to lose weight, and this time I feel that I have a strong guide to help me.”

The fact that Ms. Cardon had struggled with her own weight problem as well as coping with stress resonates with clients. They know she understands their dilemma. “When they come to me, they really want to change. I’m asking them to do hard work, but they are ready, and they want to feel better. Everyone can have a plan, a strategy. We look at how she should shop and plan meals, even when she is very busy. I offer nutritional tips and also some recipes.

“During the second week, someone might report that they made one healthy nutritional decision. Maybe they had an apple instead of a cookie. I notice that the clients almost always have an ‘aha’ moment. They begin to feel better, are getting their energy and power back, and are taking charge of their life.

“The challenge is for them to find time to focus on it. This is a journey, and they must make it a priority. It’s a matter of exercising the brain. This is a life-long practice.”

“Loving Saboteur”

Also, advises Ms. Cardon, beware of the “loving saboteur”: those friends who urge you to have that second piece of chocolate cake, pecan pie, or other desirable second helping. This is a time to focus on what is best for you.

Changing one’s eating habits of long-standing is not easy, she acknowledges, but the benefits are so important to one’s overall health and well-being.

“This is a totally different approach of integrating cognition, healthy nutrition, attitudes toward food, de-stressing, and exercise. People will feel so much better. Also, when someone finishes the program, we have an on-going support group, offering on-going encouragement.

“I really enjoy feeling that I am helping people, and that they can benefit from what I learned from the struggle I have been through. I look forward to helping even more women, and making a positive difference in their lives.”

The CogniDiet Program can be reached at (609) 921-8980; or via email: thecognidiet@gmail.com.

Hours are by appointment. A pilot program is currently underway, with the full program to begin in January.

NTU Cranbury design 12-25-13“Our clients count on us. They know that we do what we say we are going to do.”

Kim Evans, general manager, strategic marketing (and former founding partner) of Cranbury Design Center, is emphatic about the firm’s reliability, reputation, and quality work.

“We project manage our jobs. We sit down with the customers, and everything is planned out. We pay attention to every detail. We are in constant touch with the clients and let them know what is happening throughout the process.”

Known for its kitchen and bath design and build projects, Cranbury Design Center is located at 146 West Ward Street in Hightstown. Owned by Frank O’Leary and Charlie Rini, it was founded in 1999. Refreshing, remodeling, and renovating are the firm’s specialties, and they can advise clients on the latest trends in the industry regarding cabinetry, appliances, finishes, hardware, etc., while keeping in mind budgetary requirements.

Existing Footprint

If clients want to keep their existing cabinets, but would like a new sink and stove, then a “refresh” is the choice, notes Ms. Evans. This is popular, but even more typical is a remodel.

“In this case, we keep the existing footprint, but add new cabinetry as well as new appliances. In the case of a renovation, everything is new and often completely rearranged. This can also include an addition to expand the area. We do all size jobs from powder rooms to full spa-type baths, and small to very large kitchens. The kitchen is the heart of the home. No matter how big or small its size, people like to gather there. We have done some very charming small kitchens.”

People choose to make an investment in kitchens and baths for various reasons, she adds, and this can underscore their selection. “If they are planning to move, they may decide on a refresh, just to make the bathroom or kitchen appealing to prospective buyers. People who are not moving may decide to fix up the bath or kitchen if an appliance has worn out or perhaps they just want a new look and something more up-to-date. Interestingly, new owners often call us as soon as they move in because they want a remodel or even a renovation.”

Ms. Evans has seen a lot of changes and trends in kitchen and bath design over the years. There has been a definite trend toward a more open look, with one room flowing into another without doors. This is very true in the kitchen, she points out.

“No matter what size the kitchen is, people like it to be open and not shut off from the rest of the house. Often, family rooms are adjacent to the kitchen, without any demarcation except a kitchen counter.”

Kitchen Islands

Ample storage space and functionality are other factors that are important to clients today. “We also see the styles moving away from the traditional, heavily decorated look to more contemporary clean lines. It can also be a transitional look. Some people like an avant-garde feel, with stainless steel backsplashes, for example. There are just so many choices today.”

Kitchen islands are a must, and they are getting bigger, reports Ms. Evans. “They’re multi-functional now. People eat there, set out food for entertaining, etc.”

Wood floors in the kitchen are in demand now, although tile is often favored by many homeowners. Granite continues to be the number one choice for countertops but other options, such as Corian, silestone, natural quartz, and laminates are all available.

“Granite is king,” says Ms. Evans. “It is known for its durability, and there are more choices in the variety of colors now. People seem to like a combination of colors and contrasts. For example, you can have a dark island and light cabinets. Or the island can have a different countertop — wood with granite around the perimeter.”

Both light and dark cabinets are popular, and they can be as customized as the client wishes. Choices include stock cabinets, which can also be customized, and typically take three and a half to four weeks to be delivered and installed; semi-custom, which are not standard size and can have some modifications, with a time frame of eight weeks; and fully customized cabinetry, which takes eight to 12 weeks.

Customers like the cabinets to have convenient features, such as sliding drawers and lazy susan corner slides for easy access. “All our cabinetry is high quality at whatever price level,” notes Ms. Evans.

Up-to-Date Styles

“Lighting is also important, and under cabinet lighting is in demand today.”

Many of the same features seen in the kitchen are also desirable in the bath, she reports. Ample storage, easy access, and up-to-date styles, including clean, contemporary lines, are all important. “Granite and marble countertops are popular, and the floor is nearly always tile. Some of the tile can even look like wood.”

In some cases, clients are also opting for larger showers, and even eliminating tubs.

The Cranbury Design Center’s staff focus is to ensure that the client’s kitchen or bath refresh, remodel, or renovation progresses smoothly from start to finish, says Ms. Evans. “At the outset, co-owner Charlie Rini goes to see the client’s house and asks specific questions regarding life-style, and how long they plan to stay in the house. Depending on this, they select different cabinets and appliances. I also love going to the house and helping the client through the process. It can be very creative.”

And the clients are from all backgrounds and walks of life, she adds. “Some clients come in with the complete shopping bag. They know exactly what they want. Others may have some idea as to color but don’t have too many specifics in mind. Still others don’t have a clue — they just know they want something different. We do our best to help them find the way to the best kitchen and bath design to fit their needs.”

The firm’s many repeat customers and referrals are testimony to its long and valued reputation.

Cranbury Design Center’s handsome show room with many sample kitchens and baths on display is open Monday 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday until 5, Saturday until 2. (609) 448-5600. Website: www.cranburydesigncenter.com.